Everyday prices dropped in November

Table 1. EPI expenditure categories and November 2015 weights
Chart 1. Chart 1. Trends in everyday prices (EPI) vs. the Consumer Price Index

AIER’s Everyday Price Index (EPI) fell 0.6 percent in November after dropping by the same amount in October. Including apparel, the EPI was down 0.7 percent.

Comparing the November EPI and the Consumer Price Index (CPI) reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the CPI decreased 0.2 percent on a not-seasonally-adjusted basis after being unchanged in October. AIER’s EPI is not seasonally adjusted.

Over the past 12 months the EPI has fallen 2.3 percent while the CPI has risen 0.5 percent. The difference between the two is largely due to a drop in energy prices. The EPI assigns a greater weight to energy.

Gasoline prices dropped 4.2 percent in November and have plunged 24.1 percent over the past year. The fall in gasoline prices is largely due to a combination of lower crude input prices and large inventories. According to the Energy Information Agency, U.S. crude oil inventories have grown 23.4 percent over the past 12 months.

Food prices at the grocery store fell 0.6 percent in November. Over the last 12 months they have risen only 0.3 percent, well below their historical average. A drop in meat and dairy prices and prices has offset higher prices for other products. The lower prices likely reflect lower consumer demand. Consumer spending at grocery stores has fallen 0.4 percent over the past year.

As consumers eat fewer meals at home, they are eating out more. Spending at restaurants is up 3.1 percent over the past year. Strong demand at both casual and full-service restaurants has helped push restaurant prices higher. Restaurant prices were up 0.2 percent in November and have increased 2.7 percent over the past year. 

To learn more about the methodology of the Everyday Price Index, go to, “What is the EPI?”

Table 1. EPI expenditure categories and November 2015 weights
Chart 1. Chart 1. Trends in everyday prices (EPI) vs. the Consumer Price Index