December 10, 2020 Reading Time: 3 minutes

Note: The Everyday Price Index for November is based on incomplete data due to restrictions on data collection by Bureau of Labor Statistics personnel because of the Covid-19 outbreak.

The AIER Everyday Price Index fell 0.2 percent for the month of November while the more encompassing Consumer Price Index fell 0.1 percent (on a not-seasonally-adjusted basis). November was the second consecutive decrease in the Everyday Price index following five consecutive increases from May through September. Over the past year, the Everyday Price Index is up just 0.4 percent.

The Everyday Price Index including apparel, a broader measure that includes clothing and shoes, fell 0.3 percent in November, also the second consecutive decline. The index is down 0.1 percent over the 12 months through November 2020. Apparel prices fell 2.2 percent on a not-seasonally-adjusted basis in November and are down 5.2 percent over the past year. Within the apparel category, women’s and girls’ apparel fell 3.8 percent for the month (and are down 6.9 percent over 12 months) while men’s and boys’ apparel fell 1.5 percent for the month (and 5.6 percent over the past year). Footwear prices were down 0.1 percent in November and 2.5 percent from a year ago.

Food at home (groceries) and motor fuel (primarily gasoline) were the largest negative contributors to the monthly change in the Everyday Price Index. Gasoline was down 2.7 percent for the month while groceries fell 0.6 percent. Housekeeping supplies, household fuels and utilities, and admissions to movies, theaters, concerts, and sporting events etc. were among the biggest positive contributors in November.

The Consumer Price Index, which includes everyday purchases as well as infrequently purchased, big-ticket items and contractually fixed items, rose 0.2 percent on a seasonally-adjusted basis (versus the 0.1 percent decline on a not-seasonally-adjusted basis) in November. Over the past year, the Consumer Price Index is up just 1.2 percent. Food prices fell 0.1 percent led by a 0.3 percent decline in groceries that was partially offset by a 0.1 percent rise in restaurant prices. Energy prices rose 0.4 percent in November with energy commodity prices falling 0.2 percent but energy services prices jumping 1.1 percent. For the Consumer Price Index excluding food and energy, the index was up 0.2 percent for the month after seasonal adjustment while the 12-month change came in at 1.6 percent.  

Within the core, core goods prices rose 0.2 percent in November and are up 1.6 percent from a year ago while core services prices rose 0.2 percent for the month and are up 1.7 percent from a year ago. Among the increases in core goods were major appliances, up 3.4 percent, computers, peripherals, and smart home assistants, up 2.2 percent, apparel prices, up 0.9 percent, and alcoholic beverages, up 0.4 percent. Used car and truck prices fell 1.3 percent for the month but are still up 10.9 percent from a year ago.

Within core services, car and truck rentals were up 4.4 percent for November (and 9.7 percent from a year ago) while airline fares rose 3.5 percent for the month (but are down 17.0 percent over the past year) and bus fares jumped 18.0 percent. Hotel and motel prices also posted a gain, rising 4.5 percent for the month but remain 12.7 percent below November 2019.

Overall price pressures remained moderate in November as economic activity remains distorted by government restrictions on businesses and consumers. However, shifting consumption patterns are likely to make relative price changes somewhat more volatile.

Robert Hughes

Bob Hughes

Robert Hughes joined AIER in 2013 following more than 25 years in economic and financial markets research on Wall Street. Bob was formerly the head of Global Equity Strategy for Brown Brothers Harriman, where he developed equity investment strategy combining top-down macro analysis with bottom-up fundamentals. Prior to BBH, Bob was a Senior Equity Strategist for State Street Global Markets, Senior Economic Strategist with Prudential Equity Group and Senior Economist and Financial Markets Analyst for Citicorp Investment Services. Bob has a MA in economics from Fordham University and a BS in business from Lehigh University.

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