By Sarah Chaney and Harriet Torry
WASHINGTON-U.S. consumer prices rose moderately in November, signaling inflation remains in check despite historically low unemployment and tariffs on Chinese imports.
The consumer-price index-which measures the costs of everyday goods and services from clothing to dental care-rose a seasonally adjusted 0.3% in November from the previous month, the Labor Department said Wednesday. A rise in energy and rent prices were key factors pushing up overall inflation during the month.
Core prices, which exclude the often volatile food and energy categories, increased 0.2%, in line with the previous month.
The consumer-price index climbed 2.1% in November from a year earlier, up from October but still tame. Core prices were up 2.3% over the year, matching the previous month's annual rise.
The U.S. placed levies on a range of Chinese imports in September as part of the U.S.-China trade war. Those tariffs don't appear to be having an inflationary impact yet. Prices for apparel, for instance, rose only 0.1% in November, while prices for toys fell 1.1%.
A separate Labor Department report released Wednesday showed U.S. inflation-adjusted wages were unchanged in November, as consumer prices outpaced average hourly earnings.
The inflation figures are unlikely to sway the Federal Reserve's interest rate decision, which the central bank will announce in a statement later today. Fed officials lowered their short-term benchmark rate three times this year but have indicated they are prepared to hold rates steady.
The Federal Reserve follows the consumer-price index for clues about the trajectory of inflation, though the central bank's inflation target of 2% is tied to a separate measure, the Commerce Department's price index for personal-consumption expenditures. The consumer-price index tends to run a bit higher than the personal-consumption index, but both gauges generally follow the same path.
Rather than holding at its 2% target, PCE inflation has softened this year. The price index for personal-consumption expenditures, the Federal Reserve's preferred gauge for inflation, rose 1.3% year-over-year in October, the same rate as in September.
Write to Sarah Chaney at email@example.com
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
December 11, 2019 08:45 ET (13:45 GMT)
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