Energy Costs Plummet, No Jump in Consumer Prices

(CN) – The Labor Department said Wednesday that American consumer prices stayed flat in November while gasoline and other energy costs dropped.

The consumer price index was unchanged on a seasonally adjusted basis, according to a Bureau of Labor Statistics report, after rising 0.3 percent in October. That marks the lowest number since March, when consumer prices actually dropped slightly.

Compared to November 2017, consumer prices have risen 2.2 percent overall, a decrease from the 12-month period ending in October.

The increase in consumer prices over the last year is closely aligned with the Federal Reserve’s goal of keeping inflation around 2 percent over the medium term to avoid sharp spikes in prices while also avoiding deflation, which tends to lower both prices and wages.

Wednesday’s report also says the gasoline index declined 4.2 percent in November and the overall energy index dropped 2.2 percent.

Gas prices plummeted 29 cents last month, the biggest drop since early 2016, for a national average of $2.41 per gallon. The decrease is tied to the cost of oil, which went from $75 a barrel in October to $51.70 this week.

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