Consumer prices fall record 1%, inflation drops to 3.7%

Consumer prices declined in October by a record level, the Labor Department reported Wednesday. The Consumer Price Index (CPI), which is the most watched government inflation barometer, retreated to 3.7% during the previous twelve months and follows a decline of 4.7% in September.

On a monthly basis, the index fell 1% to mark the largest one month decrease since publication of seasonally adjusted changes began in February 1947. Economists were expecting a 0.9% decline.

"We are moving into an environment where prices are falling across the board," David Resler, chief economist at Nomura Securities International Inc. in New York, said in an interview with Bloomberg Television. "That is going to continue. Deflation is spreading across the economy."

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Inflation rates and figures updated for November 2008

The US Inflation Calculator website has been updated with the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data released Wednesday, November 19. The newest figures indicate that October’s annual rate of inflation declined to 3.7%. That compares to 4.9% in September and 5.4% in August. On a monthly basis, the Consumer Price Index (CPI) declined 1.0 percent. September was virtually unchanged while August declined 0.1%.

The Inflation Calculator has been updated to use the latest figures for calculation, as have the following pages:

Consumer Price Index Data from 1913 to 2008

Current Inflation Rates: 1999-2008

Historical Inflation Rates: 1914-2008

Annual Averages for Rate of Inflation

An in depth look at the released Labor Department data follows at Consumer prices fall record 1%, inflation drops to 3.7%.

Producer prices set record drop of 2.8% in October

Producer prices plunged in October for the third straight month and by a level never before on record, the Labor Department reported Tuesday.

The Producer Price Index (PPI), which measures prices at the factory door and inflation pressures before they reach the consumer, plummeted 2.8%. Forecasters were expecting a 1.9% reduction, which would have itself broke the last record one-month drop of 1.6% in October 2001, or right after the September 11 terrorist attacks.

Similar to September’s 0.4 % fall, diving energy prices were the key to October’s PPI decline. Energy prices plunged 12.8% in the month after falling 2.9% in September. That marks the biggest one-month drop since July 1986.

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