Consumer prices were unchanged overall in November as lower gas offset price increases in other goods and services monitored by the government, the US Labor Department reported Tuesday, December 17, 2013.
The Consumer Price Index, or CPI, was flat last month after decreasing 0.1% in October. Most economists, according to major news outlets, had projected an increase of 0.1%.
In the big picture, gasoline prices fell 1.6% in November for a second straight monthly decline. Also sharply lower was natural gas prices, dropping 1.8% for a fifth decrease in six months.
Not all energy categories fell. Electricity ticked 0.2% higher, up for a third consecutive month after rising 0.1% in October and 0.5% in September. Overall, however, energy prices declined 1.5% in November and they have fallen 2.4% over the past 12 months.
That’s been the main difference in recent months since American have paid more for things like food, homes, rents, airfares and used vehicles. In the food grouping, prices went up 0.1% for a second straight month and they have advanced 1.2% from a year ago.
Discounting food and energy prices, the so-called core inflation rate in November climbed 0.2% after increasing 0.1% during each of the previous three months.
12-Month Change in Consumer Prices
Over the longer term from November 2012 to November 2013, the annual rate of inflation rose 1.2% compared to the 1% increase through the twelve months ended October.
Finally, the core annual inflation rate once again rose 1.7%. That is the same increase reported by the US Labor Department for each month since September. The Federal Reserve has a target inflation rate of 2%, pegging that number as best for economic improvement under current conditions.
"Core inflation is still running too low," Bloomberg News quoted Laura Rosner, a U.S. economist at BNP Paribas SA in New York. "We probably have further weakness to see as retailers adjust prices to reduce the stockpiles that we know boosted growth."
Here is a table of major consumer prices by category and their month-over-month changes. The prices for these items are collected and published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) each month:
US Inflation: May 2013 – November 2013 Consumer Prices
|May 2013||June 2013||Jul 2013||Aug 2013||Sept 2013||Oct 2013||Nov 2013||12 Month|
|Food at home||-0.3||0.2||0.1||0.1||.0||0.1||.0||0.6|
|Food away from home||0.2||0.2||0.2||0.2||0.1||0.1||0.3||2.1|
|Gasoline (all types)||.0||6.3||1.0||-0.1||0.8||-2.9||-1.6||-5.8|
|Utility (piped) gas service||2.4||-0.4||-2.8||-2.3||1.8||-1.0||-1.8||1.0|
|All items less food, energy||0.2||0.2||0.2||0.1||0.1||0.1||0.2||1.7|
|Comm. less food, energy||.0||0.2||.0||.0||-0.1||-0.1||-0.1||-0.2|
|Used cars and trucks||-0.1||-0.4||-0.4||-0.1||.0||0.3||0.1||2.0|
|Services less energy||0.2||0.2||0.2||0.2||0.2||0.2||0.3||2.4|
And now, here is the latest Consumer Price Index summary that the BLS released early Tuesday, December 17, 2013.
The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) was unchanged in November on a seasonally adjusted basis, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Over the last 12 months, the all items index increased 1.2% before seasonal adjustment.
The energy index declined in November, offsetting increases in other indexes to result in the seasonally adjusted all items index being unchanged. The indexes for gasoline and for natural gas fell significantly, more than offsetting increases in the electricity and fuel oil indexes. The food index rose slightly in November, with the food at home index unchanged.
The index for all items less food and energy rose 0.2% in November. Increases in the indexes for shelter and airline fares accounted for most of the increase, with the indexes for recreation and for used cars and trucks also rising. The indexes for apparel, for household furnishings and operations, and for new vehicles all declined in November.
The all items index increased 1.2% over the last 12 months, a larger increase than the 1.0% rise for the 12 months ending October. The 12-month increase in the index for all items less food and energy remained at 1.7% for the third month in a row. The food index increased 1.2% over the last 12 months, while the energy index declined 2.4%.
The food index rose 0.1% in November, the same increase as in October. The index for food at home was unchanged, with major grocery store food groups mixed. The index for fruits and vegetables declined in November, falling 0.7% after rising in October. The indexes for meats, poultry, fish, and eggs and for nonalcoholic beverages also declined in November, each falling 0.2%. The index for cereals and bakery products, which declined in October, was unchanged in November. The index for other food at home rose in November, increasing 0.5%, and the index for dairy and related products rose 0.4% in November after falling in October. The food at home index has risen 0.6% over the last 12 months, the smallest 12-month increase since June 2010.
The index for meats, poultry, fish, and eggs has posted the largest increase of the six major grocery store food groups over the last year, rising 2.8%. The index for nonalcoholic beverages has declined the most, falling 1.8%. The index for food away from home rose 0.3% in November, its largest increase since April, and has risen 2.1% over the last year.
The energy index declined 1.0% in November after falling 1.7% in October. The gasoline index, which fell 2.9% in October, declined 1.6% in November. (Before seasonal adjustment, gasoline prices fell 3.3% in November.) The index for natural gas also declined, falling 1.8% in November; this was its fifth decline in the last 6 months.
Other energy indexes increased, however. The electricity index rose 0.3% in November, its third consecutive increase. The index for fuel oil rose 0.4% in November after declining in October. The energy index has declined 2.4% over the last year, with the gasoline index down 5.8% and the index for fuel oil decreasing 4.1%. The electricity index has risen 2.9% over the last year, and the index for natural gas has increased 1.0%.
All items less food and energy
The index for all items less food and energy rose 0.2% in November after rising 0.1% in each of the 3 previous months. The shelter index rose 0.3% in November after a 0.1% increase in October. The rent index increased 0.2%, while the index for owners’ equivalent rent increased 0.3%. The index for lodging away from home rose 2.9% in November after declining 3.1% in October. The index for airline fares continued to rise, advancing 2.6% in November after a 3.6% increase in October. The recreation index rose 0.2%, and the index for used cars and trucks advanced 0.1%.
The index for medical care was unchanged in November, with both the medical care commodities and medical care services components unchanged. The apparel index continued to decrease, falling 0.4%, its third consecutive decline. The index for household furnishings and operations fell 0.2% in November, as did the tobacco index. The index for new vehicles declined 0.1% for the second consecutive month.
The index for all items less food and energy increased 1.7% for the 12 months ending November. Indexes that have increased at a faster rate include airline fares (4.2%), shelter (2.4%), and medical care (2.2%). Indexes that increased more slowly or declined include household furnishings and operations (-1.4%), apparel (-0.1%), and new vehicles (0.6%). Not seasonally adjusted CPI measures
Not seasonally adjusted CPI measures
The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) increased 1.2% over the last 12 months to an index level of 233.069 (1982-84=100). For the month, the index decreased 0.2% prior to seasonal adjustment.
The Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) increased 1.1% over the last 12 months to an index level of 229.133 (1982-84=100). For the month, the index decreased 0.3% prior to seasonal adjustment.
The Chained Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (C-CPI-U) increased 1.1% over the last 12 months. For the month, the index decreased 0.2% on a not seasonally adjusted basis. Please note that the indexes for the post-2011 period are subject to revision.
The Consumer Price Index for December 2013 is scheduled with a release date of Thursday, January 16, 2014, at 8:30 a.m. (EST).