US consumer prices dip

November 17th, 2011 - 11:04 am ICT by IANS  

Washington, Nov 17 (IANS/EFE) Consumer prices in the US declined 0.1 percent in October, while the 12-month inflation rate stood at 3.5 percent, the Labor Department said Wednesday.

Excluding the more volatile categories of food and energy, prices rose 0.1 percent last month - the smallest increase this year - and by 2.1 percent since October 2010.

The main factor in October’s overall decline in the consumer price index was a 3.1 percent drop in gasoline prices, the Labor Department said.

Food prices also registered their smallest gain of the year last month, edging up 0.1 percent. Consumers’ cost of housing, health care and clothing rose in October.

The CPI increased 0.3 in September, bringing the 12-month inflation rate to 3.9 percent.

The figures released Wednesday point to an easing of inflationary pressures and create scope for the Federal Reserve to contemplate additional measures to stimulate the US economy.

The Fed’s latest forecast calls for an overall inflation rate of 2.8 percent this year, falling to 1.7 percent in 2012, well within the central bank’s unofficial target rate of 2 percent.

A separate Labor Department report issued Wednesday showed a 0.3 percent advance in inflation-adjusted weekly earnings in October.

The US economy gained 80,000 net new jobs in October, pushing the unemployment rate down by a tenth of a percentage point to 9 percent.

Unemployment has been above 8 percent since February 2009, the longest period of elevated joblessness in the US since 1948.


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