A measure of inflation eases to 5.5%

One measure of inflation closely watched by the Federal Reserve slowed last month, another sign that a long surge in consumer prices seems to be easing, according to a report by the Associated Press. On Dec. 23, the Commerce Department issued a report showing that prices rose 5.5% in November from a year earlier, down from a revised 6.1% increase in October and the smallest gain since October 2021. Excluding volatile food and energy prices, so-called core inflation was up 4.7% over the previous year, which was also the smallest increase since October 2021.

Inflation, which began surging in 2021 as the economy bounced back from the COVID recession, remains well above the 2% year-over-year growth the Fed wants to see, but it’s down from its peak of 9.1% in June 2022. The central bank has raised its benchmark interest rate seven times since March in an attempt to bring consumer prices under control.