Economic Indicators for Today: CPI Unchanged; Industrial Production Up

On a seasonally adjusted basis, the Consumer Price Index (consumer inflation) was unchanged in November, following declines of 0.5% in each of the preceding two months, according to the U.S. Department of Labor report. Energy prices, which declined sharply in September and October, fell 0.2 percent in November. The food index decreased 0.1 percent in November. 

Core inflation, the index for all items less food and energy, was virtually unchanged in November, following an increase of 0.1 percent in October. 

  • The food and beverages index decreased 0.1 percent in November.
  • The index for housing, which was virtually unchanged in October, rose 0.4 percent in November.
  • The transportation index declined for the third consecutive month-- down 0.9 percent in November--reflecting price decreases for gasoline, for new and used motor vehicles, and for airline fares.
  • The index for apparel declined for the second consecutive month, down 0.3 percent in November.
  • Medical care costs rose 0.2 percent in November and were 3.7 percent higher than a year ago.
  • The index for education and communication declined 0.2 percent in November.

During the first 11 months of 2006, the CPI rose at a 2.2 percent seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR). This compares with an increase of 3.4 percent for all of 2005.

Source at Department of Labor: http://www.bls.gov/news.release/cpi.nr0.htm

Industrial Production:

The Federal Reserve reported that industrial production was up 0.2% in November, the first increase following two months of declines. The rebound was led by a 0.3% jump in output at factories as auto plants posted a strong 3.7 percent increase following two months of big declines.

  • The output of consumer goods increased 0.3 percent and was led by a gain of 1-1/2 percent in the output of durable consumer goods
  • The production of business equipment rose 1.2 percent, the fastest pace of increase since July.
  • Manufacturing production increased 0.3 percent in November. The output of durable goods rose 0.7 percent, although the gains were spread unevenly among durable goods industries.
  • Output at the nation's mines, a category that includes oil production, fell by 0.2 percent while output at utilities was down 0.1 percent.

The rate of capacity utilization for total industry held steady at 81.8 percent, a level 0.8 percentage point above its 1972-2005 average. 

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