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Consumer Prices Up 0.2 Percent in November

  • Increase in energy and several other costs in November offsets a drop in food and auto prices
  • Overall consumer prices up 1.2 percent on an annual basis while core inflation stands at 1.6 percent
  • Energy prices have fallen substantially from 2019 while used car prices have skyrocketed

Overall consumer prices inched up 0.2 percent in November, as an increase in energy prices and other costs offset a decrease in food and auto prices. Prices have risen slowly in recent months, with no gains in October and another 0.2 percent increase in September.

On an annual basis, prices were up 1.2 percent while core inflation (which excludes the more volatile measures of food and energy) rose by 1.6 percent. This stayed within the Federal Reserve’s longstanding goal of capping inflation at 2 percent, although the Fed has indicated that it plans to allow higher inflation in order to assist the recovery in the labor market.

Increases in electricity and natural gas prices offset a decrease in gasoline prices, with overall energy prices up 0.4 percent over October. Energy prices have tumbled on an annual basis and were down 9.4 percent from November 2019.

Food prices fell 0.1 percent, but were up 3.7 percent on an annual basis. Medical prices also dropped, but stood 3.2 percent higher than the same point in the previous year.

Used car prices have experienced the greatest price shift, as consumers have sought alternatives to public transit options during the COVID-19 pandemic. These prices fell 1.3 percent on a monthly basis, but have increased 10.9 percent compared to November 2019.

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