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Consumer prices up slightly in November


Costs for shelter and medical care rose but were offset by falling energy prices

CPI image ©Jira-stock.adobe.com


Consumer prices ticked up slightly in November as inflation continued to ease off its highs of 2022.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ core Consumer Price Index (CPI) for November, released today, shows prices rose 0.3% overall in November. That followed a 0.2% increase for the previous month. For the 12-month periods ending in both November and October the core CPI index was up 4%.

The core CPI excludes the food and energy sectors, whose prices tend to be more volatile. When those are included, the CPI rose by 3.1% for the 12 months ending in November, compared to a 3.2% increase for the year ending in October.

The all-items index, which includes food and energy prices, was up by 3.1% for the 12 months ending in November. That compares to a 3.2% increase for the year ending in October.

The medical care index was up 0.6% in November following a 0.3% increase in October. Prices increased 0.6% for physicians’ services and 0.5% for prescription drugs. The hospital services index inched up by 0.1%.

Much of the increase in November’s core CPI was driven by shelter prices, which make up about a third of the index’s overall weighting. Shelter prices were up by 0.4% for the month and 6.5% for the year. Other sectors with significant year-over-year increases include motor vehicle insurance (up 19.2%), personal care (up 5.2%), and recreation (up 2.5%).

Offsetting these was a 2.3% decrease in energy prices, driven by falling prices for gasoline prices and fuel oil (down 6% and 2.7%, respectively.)

The announcement of November’s CPI comes as the Federal Reserve begins its final meeting of 2023. Most analysts expect the relatively moderate inflation data will result in the Fed continuing its recent trend of holding interest rates steady following more than a year of aggressive rate hikes.

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