The cost of living in the U.S. accelerated in November from a month earlier, led by higher prices for energy and medical care.
The 0.4 percent increase in the consumer-price index followed a 0.3 percent gain in October, figures from the Labor Department showed today in Washington. The so-called core index that excludes food and energy was unexpectedly unchanged, the first month without an increase since December 2008 and restrained by a drop in shelter costs and cheaper clothing.
Energy costs have retreated so far this month, and comments from companies such as Best Buy Co. indicate unemployment close to a 26-year high is prompting retailers to discount their merchandise. Federal Reserve policy makers have said they expect “subdued” inflation in coming months, allowing them to keep interest rates low.
The report “gives them some more room to see how the recovery unfolds,” said Harm Bandholz, a U.S. economist at UniCredit Global Research in New York who correctly forecast the core rate. “The drivers are the vast underutilization of capacity, notably the high unemployment rate.”