The numbers: U.S. wholesale costs rose sharply in September for the third month in a row, but the recent upturn largely reflected prices returning to normal after the economy reopened and not a sustained increase in inflation.
The producer price index jumped 0.4% last month, the government said Wednesday. Economists polled by MarketWatch had predicted a 0.2% advance.
Most of the increase last month in wholesale prices was tied to a partial rebound in the cost of hotel and travel-related services after more people ventured out toward the end of the summer. Businesses were forced to slash prices last spring when lockdown orders and fear of catching the virus kept most customers away.
Inflation in the U.S. was still quite tepid. Wholesale inflation has risen just 0.4% in the past year, marking the first positive reading in six months. Typically wholesale prices start to