U.S. shoppers keep spending despite hot inflation

In what could be another positive sign as the key end-of-year holiday shopping season begins, government data released Wednesday showed U.S. consumers kept on spending despite rising inflation.

Consumer spending rose more than expected in October with shoppers showing little sign of struggling with high prices.

Inflation pressures heated up anew in October. The personal consumption expenditures price index, or PCE, rose 5 percent over the past 12 months. The core-PCE, which excludes food and energy, and is the Federal Reserve's favored inflation gauge, accelerated 4.1 percent in the 12 months through October. That's double the Fed's 2 percent target.

There are expectations that with inflation numbers like those, the Fed may have to speed up plans to hike interest rates as a way of getting inflation under control.

Inflation is also top of mind at the White House. Saddled by falling poll numbers linked to inflation, President Biden ordered the release of 50 million barrels of oil from the nation's strategic oil reserve. The move was made in an effort to drive gasoline prices lower just as the holiday travel rush begins.

In a YouGov poll, respondents said high gas prices were their biggest concern this holiday season.

The national average to fill up at the pump is $3.39 a gallon, according to AAA - that's roughly $1.30 more than the same time last year.

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