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Inflation shot up even higher than expected in November, on fastest climb in 40 years

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NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP via Getty Images

Inflation jumped to its highest levels in almost 40 years last month, slightly outpacing already negative expectations, new data from the U.S. Department of Labor showed.

The Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics reported on Friday that the consumer price index, which measures the cost of goods and services in America, "rose 6.8% for the 12 months ending October, the largest 12-month increase since the period ending June 1982."

The disastrous numbers marked the sixth consecutive month of a year-over-year inflation increase of higher than 5%. In November alone, consumer prices jumped 0.8%. The month before, they increased 0.9%.

Food and energy prices once again led the way.

Energy prices shot up another 3.5% in November, making it a 33.5% surge since November 2020. Gasoline prices alone have skyrocketed 58.1% in that time period, while food prices have gone up 6.1% over the past year.

But even putting food and energy aside, the economic situation still looked bleak, as prices are up across the board.

CNBC reported that "excluding food and energy prices, so-called core CPI was up 0.5% for the month and 4.9% from a year ago, which itself was the sharpest pickup since mid-1991."

The Dow Jones estimate for the month was a 6.7% year-over-year increase.

The New York Times reported that "the rising costs spell trouble for officials at the Federal Reserve and the White House, who are trying to calibrate policy at a moment when the labor market has yet to completely heal from the pandemic, but the risk that price increases could become more lasting is increasing."

The White House and Federal Reserve officials have consistently blamed rising inflation numbers on the persistence of the COVID-19 pandemic, but critics point to supply chain and labor shortage crises under way since the start of President Joe Biden's term.

“There’s no question, no matter how you look at it, even if you take out the extremes caused by the pandemic, it’s still very high inflation,” Randy Frederick, managing director of trading and derivatives at Charles Schwab, told CNBC. “This is still supply chain disruption, semiconductor-related inflation.”

In October, Biden said in a statement that "inflation hurts Americans' pocketbooks, and reversing this trend is a top priority for me."

But a month later, the situation has only gotten worse. The bad news will likely result in more bad polling for the president, who is already under water with voters. Last month, Biden's approval rating sank to just 38%, with many voters citing the economic downturn as a major reason for their disapproval.

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