US producer prices up 0.6% in July, biggest jump since 2018

WASHINGTON — U.S. wholesale prices shot up an unexpected 0.6% in July, biggest gain since October 2018, with energy prices moving sharply higher.

The Labor Department said today that the jump last month in its producer price index — which measures inflation before it reaches consumers — followed a 0.2% drop in June. Wholesale energy prices shot up 5.3% in July. Excluding the volatile food and energy prices, producer prices rose 0.5%.

Over the past year, producer prices are down 0.4%, and core prices are up 0.3%. The sharp recession caused by the coronavirus outbreak has constrained inflation.