U.S. inflation rose 0.3% in October

By Staff, with files from The Associated Press | November 14, 2018 | Last updated on November 14, 2018
2 min read
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Consumer prices climbed 0.3 % in October, with higher prices for gasoline, used autos and housing contributing to the increase.

The Labor Department said Wednesday that this measure of inflation has jumped 2.5% over the past 12 months. Adjusted for rising prices, average weekly wages have improved 0.9 % this year. That’s an increase of $8.52 in weekly earnings from October 2017.

The Federal Reserve targets inflation at 2%, just enough to encourage consumer spending and economic growth without leading to price increases that could destabilize the economy. Fed officials are expected at an upcoming meeting in December to raise a key short-term interest rate for the fourth time this year, in hopes of keeping inflation under check and preventing economic growth from overheating in ways that could trigger a downturn.

But inflation could be tamer in future months because oil prices have been trending lower and the value of the dollar has strengthened.

Core inflation, which excludes volatile energy and food costs, rose 0.2 % in October. This core figure, which many economists consider to be a better indicator of underlying inflation, has risen 2.1% from a year ago.

Gas prices increased 3% in October, after having dipped 0.2% in September.

Housing—the single largest component of the index—increased 0.3% in October. Used car and truck prices jumped 2.6% on a monthly basis. But food prices slipped as fruits, vegetables, cereals and bakery products became cheaper.

The data suggests the Federal Reserve’s preferred core inflation measure could drop below 2%, but not enough to stop them from raising interest rates in December, CIBC’s Katherine Judge said in a research note.

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Staff, with files from The Associated Press

The Associated Press is an American not-for-profit news agency headquartered in New York City.