Consumer prices in November fell by a record pace for the second consecutive month, the Labor Department reported today. The closely watched Consumer Price Index fell 1.7 percent, marking its biggest decline since the government began adjusting the CPI for seasonal factors in 1947.
The government’s report shows the annual inflation rate at 1.1 percent compared to the previous month’s 3.7 percent. Again leading the charge was greatly reduced energy costs.
Lower consumer prices generally makes inflationary-hedge investments in commodities like gold less attractive. Gold’s spot price is up, however, as the markets await an expected rate cut announcement today by the Federal Reserve.
The CoinNews Inflation Calculator and rate charts with their updated figures show inflation’s drop using the government’s latest Consumer Price Index (CPI) data. By entering any two dates from 1913-2008 and then a dollar amount, the calculator measures the change in the buying power of the dollar over time.
Inflation, rates and price figures in November
The core Consumer Price Index, which excludes volatile food and energy costs, remained unchanged in November.
For consumers, a welcome relief was the 17 percent drop in energy prices. November prices were 32.4 percent below their July highs when a barrel of oil was going for $147. Gasoline prices tumbled by 29.5 percent.
On the flip side, medical care, food and beverage prices each climbed 0.2 percent. Clothing costs jumped 0.3 percent and electricity was up 0.6 percent.
What’s the real world meaning of these figures? The CoinNews Inflation Calculator can provide further historical insights.
Inflation Calculator examples
Using the calculator, anyone can determine the purchasing power of the dollar over time. A few examples after adjusting for inflation:
- An item purchased in 1913 for $1 would now cost $21.46 (down 42 cents from October figures)
- An item purchased in 1950 for $10 would now cost $88.14 (down $1.72 from October figures)
- An item purchased for $20 in 1985 would now cost $39.48 (down 78 cents from October figures)
Mixed dates may also be used with the Inflation Calculator. As examples:
- An item purchased today for $500 would have cost $126.63 in 1975
- An item purchased for $1000 in 1980 would have cost $1,586.17 in 1990
Of course, not all "goods and services" rise or fall in tandem with inflation rates. For example, many computers when adjusted for inflation are actually less expensive today (and do more) compared to years ago.
Latest Charts on Inflation Rates
The CoinNews inflation page also includes two updated charts indicating the:
- Annual Averages for Rate of Inflation
- Annual Percent Changes for Rate of Inflation or Inflation Rates