Consumer Prices Unchanged in November

By December 16, 2011Economy

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the consumer price index (CPI) was unchanged in November. This follows a decline of 0.1 percent in October.

In November, energy costs fell 1.6 percent on lower gasoline and natural gas costs. Still, even with the declines, energy costs were up 12.4 percent year-over-year.

Food costs rose 0.1 percent for the month, with the price of grocery items for the home down 0.1 percent while restaurant purchases rose 0.3 percent. The steepest price declines for food came from sugar and sweets (down 1.7 percent) and fruits and vegetables (down 0.6 percent); whereas, fats and oils rose 0.8 percent, making it the fastest gainer. (Fats and oils were also up the most year-over-year, at 11.1 percent.)

Core inflation, which excludes food and energy costs, increased 0.2 percent in November. The core CPI for goods rose 0.1 percent, with core service prices up 0.2 percent. Annual inflation is currently running at 3.4 percent, but core inflation now stands at 2.2 percent. This has edged higher with each passing month this year, but still remains modest.

Outside of food and energy, the largest monthly price increases were seen in apparel, medical care, personal care products, and personal computers and peripherals. New and used motor vehicle prices dropped 0.3 percent.

Overall, these numbers suggest that pricing pressures remain modest, at least for now, even as core inflation has exceeded the 2 percent goal of many economists.

Chad Moutray is chief economist, National Association of Manufacturers.

Chad Moutray

Chad Moutray

Chad Moutray is chief economist for the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) and the Director of the Center for Manufacturing Research for The Manufacturing Institute, where he serves as the NAM’s economic forecaster and spokesperson on economic issues. He frequently comments on current economic conditions for manufacturers through professional presentations and media interviews. He has appeared on Bloomberg, CNBC, C-SPAN, Fox Business and Fox News, among other news outlets.
Chad Moutray

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