WASHINGTON (AP) -- Wholesale prices jumped last month by the most in nearly two years due to higher energy costs and the steepest rise in food prices in 36 years. Excluding those volatile categories, inflation was tame.
The Labor Department said Wednesday that the Producer Price Index rose a seasonally adjusted 1.6 percent in February -- double the 0.8 percent rise in the previous month. Outside of food and energy costs, the core index ticked up 0.2 percent, less than January's 0.5 percent rise.
Food prices soared 3.9 percent last month, the biggest gain since November 1974. Most of that increase was due to a sharp rise in vegetable costs, which increased nearly 50 percent. That was the most in almost a year. Meat and dairy products also rose.
Energy prices rose 3.3 percent last month, led by a 3.7 percent increase in gasoline costs. [Emphasis added--E.M.]
Saying that "outside of food and energy costs" the economic news isn't so bad is a bit like the famous joke question, "Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you enjoy the play?"
Does anyone doubt that in a Republican administration, the news that food prices were higher than they had been in 36 years, since November of 1974, would lead the evening news, top all the headlines, and be the subject of "talking head" discussions on every major news channel?I can't help but wonder if the Democrats are going to be blindsided by the depth of the public's frustration over jobs, the economy, and the rising prices of necessities like food and energy. After all, the mainstream media is busy telling us all that everything is okay--and nobody but pajama-wearing bloggers thinks otherwise, right?