What Does November’s CPI Report Tell Us About Inflation Levels In 2023?

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Will inflation finally slow down in 2023? This is the burning question as the year comes to a close, and consumers may find some clues in the November consumer price index (CPI) – the final report of 2022 – which dropped Tuesday morning. 

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The CPI, excluding food and energy, rose 0.2% in November, the smallest increase since August 2021. 

Whether inflation cools down in the new year depends on a constellation of factors including core goods prices, wage growth, rent, and more. Here’s a closer look at some of those key factors and what role they may play in terms of making (or breaking) inflation in 2023.

Shelter 

Inflation with respect to shelter could go either way. In October, the shelter index continued to increase, rising 0.8% – the largest monthly increase in that index since August 1990. But Morningstar expects housing prices to reverse course and cool in 2023. Bloomberg reported that economists see “the housing components as a wild card for the month.”

Gasoline 

Gasoline prices fell in November, and are now lower than they were a year ago. Consumers should see some promising dips here on November’s CPI report. Can the trend hold for 2023? With the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, unfortunately, there’s no real way of knowing how oil prices will fluctuate in the future.  

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Used Cars and Trucks

Prices for used cars and trucks have been slipping over the past few months. But this indicates more a stabilization, than a decline. And prices could buoy. Aneta Markowska, chief financial economist at Jefferies LLC told Bloomberg this category could bump from 0.3% back up to 0.4% in around March 2023. 

Apparel 

Apparel prices had been dropping, declining .7% in October. However, November saw a slight increase (.2%) which leaves the index up 3.6% year over year. Whether things will change will be dependent on holiday sales and inventory levels going into the new year. 

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Wage Growth 

The labor market is expected to slow down, but at this very moment, it’s strong. Still, wage growth has failed to keep up with raising prices and one of the big questions for 2023 is whether inflation will cool enough for wages to catch up with it. 

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About the Author

Nicole Spector is a writer, editor, and author based in Los Angeles by way of Brooklyn. Her work has appeared in Vogue, the Atlantic, Vice, and The New Yorker. She's a frequent contributor to NBC News and Publishers Weekly. Her 2013 debut novel, "Fifty Shades of Dorian Gray" received laudatory blurbs from the likes of Fred Armisen and Ken Kalfus, and was published in the US, UK, France, and Russia — though nobody knows whatever happened with the Russian edition! She has an affinity for Twitter.
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