Prices for wholesale goods jumped 9.6% for the year ending in November, the fastest price hike on record, according to the Department of Labor’s Producer Price Index (PPI) released Tuesday. 

The PPI number was higher than the 9.2% annual gain expected by forecasters. With the exception of food and energy prices, which are more volatile, core PPI increased 6.9%, which was also the highest gain on record.

The Labor Department's records for PPI go back to November 2010. Core calculations for PPI data go back to August 2014. 

Overall demand has been blamed for the spike in PPI growth. Throughout 2021, businesses have struggled to keep pace with resurgent demand as public health restrictions instituted at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic were relaxed. Supply chain shortages from global bottlenecks have exasperated this problem further, pushing inflation to levels not seen in decades. 

Energy demand was an important contributor to the high PPI reading. According to the Labor Department, prices for energy rose 2.6% in November, a smaller rise than the 5.3% reading recorded in October. 

Concern about energy demand and prices has driven the Biden administration to do more to keep these costs down. In November, President Joe Biden urged oil producers abroad to ramp up production to pull down prices. Biden also announced a coordinated release of supplies from the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserves to lower prices after receiving pressure from members of his Democratic party.

Food prices rose 1.2% in November after going down 0.3% in October. This was accompanied by a 1.9% rise in the price of transportation and warehousing goods as well.