Economic Research and Data

Economic Trends

Filling you in on the current state of the economy

12.21.06
November Price Statistics

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) was unchanged in November following two months of substantial declines. Monthly growth in the core inflation measures showed a marked deceleration from longer-term trends in November. Like the CPI, the CPI excluding food and energy was also largely unchanged (rose at a 0.6 percent annualized rate) during the month. The 16% trimmed-mean CPI, which eliminates 8 percent of weighted components with both the largest and smallest monthly price changes, rose a modest 1.0 percent (annualized rate), while monthly growth in the median CPI has come down a bit to 3.0 percent (annualized rate).

 

November Price Statistics

    Percent change, last
    1mo.a 3mo.a 6mo.a 12mo. 5yr.a 2005 avg.
Consumer prices            
  All items 0.0 -3.9 -0.2 2.0 2.6 3.6
  Less food and energy 0.6 1.6 2.3 2.6 2.0 2.2
  Medianb 3.0 3.4 3.8 3.7 2.7 2.5
  16% trimmed meanb 1.0 1.5 2.2 2.5 2.2 2.6
Producer prices            
  Finished goods 26.4 -3.9 -0.6 0.9 2.9 5.7
  Less food and energy 16.3 3.9 1.1 1.8 1.2 1.5

a. Annualized.
b. Calculated by the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
Sources: U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics; and Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.

 

Longer-term inflation trends were still relatively high in November yet appear to be decelerating some from their recent peaks. Both the 12-month growth rate in the CPI excluding food and energy, as well as the 16% trimmed-mean CPI, are down over 1/4 percentage point since 2006Q2, yet remain elevated at rates between 2-1/2 and 2-3/4 percent. The longer-term trend of the median CPI, however, continued to accelerate during the month to its highest rate since mid-2002.

 

CPI and CPI Excluding Food and Energy

Source: U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics.

 

CPI and Trimmed-Mean CPI Measures*

*The Median CPI and the 16% trimmed mean CPI are alculated by the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
Sources: U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics; and Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.

 

While the shorter-term trends in the retail price measures seem to suggest on the surface that inflation rates slowed during the month, the curious component price distribution makes it difficult to identify any underlying trend among retail prices. Indeed, a mere 10 percent of the CPI registered price increases in the 0 percent to 3 percent range—the range which most economists consider to be consistent with the current inflation trend. The monthly price declines offset the sizeable monthly price increases: Either prices were falling (34 percent of the CPI), or rising in excess of 3 percent (about 55 percent).

 

CPI Component Price Change Distribution

Source: U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics.




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