November consumer prices up 0.2% as energy costs rise

WASHINGTON — U.S. consumer prices edged up 0.2% in November as a rise in energy costs and variety of other items offset a drop in food costs.

The Labor Department reported that the gain in the consumer price index followed an unchanged reading in October and matched the 0.2% September advance. The increase remained far below the 0.6% gains seen in June and July as the country was reopening following the spring virus shutdown.

Overall prices are up a modest 1.2% over the past year while core inflation, which excludes volatile food and energy, has increased 1.6% during the past 12 months.

Inflation has been dormant for most of the past decade, allowing the Federal Reserve to push interest rates to ultra-low levels to provide support for an economy struggling to emerge from a pandemic-related recession.