U.S. consumer prices declined for the first time in more than two-and-a-half years in December, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The details: The consumer price index unexpectedly fell 0.1% last month after increasing 0.1% in November. Many economists had predicted it would rise, according to Reuters (subscription).
- Gasoline was the largest contributor to the decline, “more than offsetting increases in shelter indexes,” according to the BLS.
- Prices of food increased slightly, as did the cost of apparel, medical care commodities and medical care services, shelter and transportation services.
The big picture: “The all items index increased 6.5 percent for the 12 months ending December; this was the smallest 12-month increase since the period ending October 2021,” according to the BLS.
The NAM says: “Overall, pricing pressures for consumers remain very elevated, even with continued easing in the latest data,” said NAM Chief Economist Chad Moutray. “The moderation in inflation is welcome news for the Federal Reserve, manufacturers and consumers, but there is still more work to be done to wring inflation out of the U.S. economy further.”