U.S. Wholesale Inflation Beats Projections in October

U.S. wholesale prices rose by the most in six years last month, led skyward by more expensive gas, food, and chemicals.

Figures released Friday by the U.S. Labor Department said that the producer price index — which measures price increases before they reach the consumer — leaped 0.6% in October, after a smaller 0.2% rise in September. Producer prices increased 2.9% from a year earlier.

Excluding the volatile food and energy categories, core wholesale prices rose 0.5% in October and 2.6% from a year earlier.

Despite last month's increase, the figures suggest inflation pressures are mostly in check. The year-over-year price increase is lower than it was in the summer, when it topped 3%. And oil prices declined in October, which will likely to lower gas costs in the coming months.

Firms stateside may have to raise prices to offset the costs of higher pay, which could spur higher inflation. But businesses could also invest in more machinery and software to make their employees more efficient, which would enable them to pay more without raising prices.