By PAUL WISEMAN
AP Economics Writer
WASHINGTON (AP) — Inflation is starting to look like that unexpected — and unwanted — houseguest who just won’t leave. For months, many economists had sounded a reassuring message that a spike in consumer prices, something that had been missing in action in the U.S. for a generation, wouldn’t stay long. It would prove “transitory,’’ in the soothing words of Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell and White House officials, as the economy shifted from virus-related chaos to something closer to normalcy. Yet as any American who has bought a carton of milk, a gallon of gas or a used car could tell you, inflation has settled in.