The numbers: The cost of living rose sharply again in October as Americans paid more for staples such as gas and groceries, pushing the rate of inflation to a nearly 31-year high and adding financial pressure on U.S. households.

The consumer price index jumped 0.9% last month, the government said Wednesday. Economists polled by The Wall Street Journal had forecast a 0.6% increase.

The pace of inflation over the past year marched to 6.2% in October from 5.4% in the prior month.

That’s more than double the Federal Reserve’s 2% target and is the highest rate since November 1990.

Another closely watched measure of inflation that omits volatile food and energy costs rose 0.6% last month. This so-called core rate is closely followed by economists as a more accurate measure of underlying inflation.

The 12-month increase in the core rate climbed to 4.6% from 4% and hit a 30-year peak.

Read: U.S. adds 531,000 new jobs in October as economy recovers

Big picture: High inflation is set to persist into early 2022 because of ongoing shortages of labor and supplies that are unlikely to easy soon.

Companies such as UPS
UPS,
+0.32%
,
Kraft
KHC,
+0.40%

and Krispy Kreme
DNUT,
-4.21%

have to pay more for wages and materials and they still can’t produce enough goods and services to meet demand. Many are raising prices to offset the higher costs to themselves.

Read: Wholesale prices surge again and offer no relief from high inflation

Chairman Jerome Powell and other senior Fed leaders say inflation should subside next year and return close to their 2% target, but they acknowledge price pressures have been much stronger than they anticipated. They say they are watching prices closely and are prepared to respond if high inflation persists.

The surge in prices for rent, gas, groceries, cars and many other goods and services has put a big dent in consumer confidence and could even threaten the economic recovery unless inflation relents.

Read: Top Fed officials signal interest-rate increases in 2022 are on the table

“I am acutely aware that this period of rising prices is painful for many Americans,” Philadelphia Federal Reserve President Patrick Harker said on Monday.

Market reaction: The Dow Jones Industrial Average
DJIA,
-0.31%

and S&P 500
SPX,
-0.35%

were set to open lower in Wednesday trades. Stocks have been hitting record highs.

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