Annual Inflation Rises 2.2% as Consumer Prices in November Climb 0.4%

Inflation in the United States ran quicker in November as Americans paid a lot more for energy, according to a report released by the Labor Department on Wednesday, December 13, 2017.

Energy costs accounted for about three-fourths of overall pricing gains, the report said, but U.S. consumers also paid more for things like shelter, transportation, and vehicles. Of note and on the flip side, clothing costs fell the most for a month since September 1998.

Consumer prices climbed 0.4% in November after rising 0.1% in October, the Labor Department said in its monthly report on the Consumer Price Index. The CPI measures what Americans pay for everything from cloths to cars.

Prices at the pump jumped 7.3% last month after decreasing 2.4% in the prior month. The monthly increase is the third largest this year. Gasoline prices surged 16.5% over the past 12 months.

The broader index for energy, which combines items like gasoline, electricity and fuel oil, advanced 3.9% in November after sliding 1% in October. They are 9.4% higher from a year ago.

Food prices were unchanged for a second month in a row with a 1.4% advance year-on-year.

Stripping the more volatile food and energy components, so-called core consumer prices rose 0.1% in November from 0.2% in October.

Within the grouping, shelter or housing costs rose 0.2% after two monthly gains of 0.3%. Prices peaked in August at 0.5%, the most for a month since one in 2005. They are 3.2% higher over the past 12 months. Components of shelter include pricing items like rent for apartments, rental equivalence, lodging away from home such as hotels, and housing at schools. The shelter component accounts for about one-third of the CPI.

Medical care services moved up 0.2% in November, their sixth straight monthly increase.

U.S. inflation grew 2.2% from the same month a year earlier after rising 2.0% previously. As recently as February, the annual rate of inflation jumped 2.7% for the biggest gain since March 2012.

Core inflation rose 1.7% on an annual basis, the sixth such gain in the last seven months. It rose 1.8% previously. Annual inflation rates have remained in the range of 1.6% to 2.3% since June 2011. The core annual measure is one of the benchmark inflation rates monitored by the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) as it helps the central bank decide where to set its key interest rate.

"The lack of a sustained pickup in core CPI does make the Fed deliberations about the pace of monetary policy tightening next year more complicated," Reuters quoted Kathy Bostjancic, head of U.S. macro investor services at Oxford Economics in New York.

The following table of key inflation figures is for the last eleven months through November, as published by the U.S. Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov/cpi). To index the data each month, the BLS monitors the prices of about 80,000 consumer goods and services from around the nation. All monthly and annual pricing changes are in percentages.

May to November 2017 Consumer Prices – Gains & Losses in Percent

  May 2017 Jun 2017 Jul 2017 Aug 2017 Sept 2017 Oct 2017 Nov 2017 12 Month
All items -0.1 .0 0.1 0.4 0.5 0.1 0.4 2.2
  Food 0.2 .0 0.2 0.1 0.1 .0 .0 1.4
    Food at home 0.1 -0.1 0.2 -0.2 .0 .0 -0.1 0.6
    Food away from home 0.2 .0 0.2 0.3 0.3 0.1 0.2 2.4
  Energy -2.7 -1.6 -0.1 2.8 6.1 -1.0 3.9 9.4
    Energy commodities -6.2 -2.7 .0 6.1 12.6 -2.3 7.1 16.4
      Gasoline (all types) -6.4 -2.8 .0 6.3 13.1 -2.4 7.3 16.5
      Fuel oil -2.8 -3.7 -2.0 2.9 8.2 2.3 5.0 18.6
    Energy services 0.7 -0.5 -0.2 -0.1 -0.2 0.4 0.6 2.8
      Electricity 0.3 -0.6 0.4 .0 .0 0.5 0.5 2.5
      Utility (piped) gas service 1.9 -0.2 -2.3 -0.5 -0.8 0.3 0.6 3.6
  All items less food, energy 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.2 0.1 0.2 0.1 1.7
    Commodities less food, energy -0.3 -0.1 -0.1 -0.1 -0.2 0.1 -0.1 -0.9
      New vehicles -0.2 -0.3 -0.5 .0 -0.4 -0.2 0.3 -1.1
      Used cars and trucks -0.2 -0.7 -0.5 -0.2 -0.2 0.7 1.0 -2.1
      Apparel -0.8 -0.1 0.3 0.1 -0.1 -0.1 -1.3 -1.6
      Medical care 0.4 0.7 1.0 -0.1 -0.8 .0 0.6 1.8
    Services less energy 0.2 0.2 0.2 0.4 0.2 0.3 0.2 2.5
      Shelter 0.2 0.2 0.1 0.5 0.3 0.3 0.2 3.2
      Transportation 0.3 0.2 0.2 0.4 0.3 0.2 0.1 3.8
      Medical care -0.1 0.3 0.3 0.2 0.1 0.3 -0.1 1.6

 

The BLS releases inflation data around the middle of every month based on consumer prices surveyed in the previous month. The Consumer Price Index (CPI) for December and the latest annual period become public on January 12, 2018.

CPI data is used in calculating inflation rates and in this site’s inflation calculator. The US Inflation Calculator shows cumulative inflation and the change in buying power of the U.S. dollar over time.

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