Price Impact Led by Food & Medical Prices



Prices for food at home declined in November while price pressures on households remained focused in medical care and prescription drugs—according to the latest U.S. consumer price numbers.

The decline in food prices (-0.3%) from October to November will continue to encourage households—especially older, lower-income households—to economize on their grocery shopping to pay for higher medical and other costs.

Restaurant prices (i.e., food-away from home), rent and house payments, and education prices are the other categories where relatively high price inflation means those categories are likely taking a larger share of the household budget.

  • Despite the extremes in price pressures, overall price inflation remained modest in November as measured month-to-month (0.0%), year-to-year (0.4%), and year-to-date (0.1%).
  • Inflation is more evident excluding food and energy. It is up month-to-month (0.2%), year-to-year (2.0%), and year-to-date (1.8%). See the table summary for more detail.
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Impact @Home: Add those eggs back into the menu as their prices slowly fall month-to-month. Look for savings in other food categories as prices fall at the same time you control spending on medical care and other services, where price pressures will continue to rise.

Take advantage of a price letup in categories such as men’s apparel, and cookware/tableware—not to mention the opportunity to do more travel (by car or airline, given lower prices on both fronts).

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Impact @Work: Workplaces that are able to raise prices should not overplay their hand—especially as price inflation returns in other categories in the longer term and puts greater pressure on household spending.

For more insights on the impact@work, check out the premium insights below.
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