Inflation holds steady in November

@CNNMoney December 16, 2011: 9:28 AM ET

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Good news for American wallets: Inflation doesn't appear to be a problem.

The government's key measure of inflation, the Consumer Price Index, showed prices hardly moved from October to November.

And in the past 12 months, prices were up 3.4%, barely changed from a 3.5% annual inflation rate in October.

"The pace of inflation has clearly moderated in recent months, and is expected to continue to ease in the months ahead," wrote Jim Baird, chief investment strategist for Plante Moran Financial Advisors, in a research note.

"This is more good news for the consumer. Should inflation continue to moderate, households should feel better about their ability to spend a bit more freely," he added.

Gas prices fell 2.4% in the month, but over the year, they were still up 19.7%. Food prices rose 0.1% in November, and 4.6% year-over-year.

The CPI measure of inflation comes from a broad basket of goods, ranging from food and gas, to clothing, health care services and cars. Since food and gas prices tend to be choppy though, economists often like to look at the measure without including those elements.

That measure, called core CPI, showed prices rose 0.2% in November, and 2.2% year-over-year. Core inflation is at its highest level since October 2008, when the rate was also 2.2%.

And overall, wages are still lagging inflation. Average hourly earnings rose only 1.8% in the 12 months ending in November. To top of page

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