The United States consumer prices were unchanged in November, held back by a sharp decline in the price of gasoline, but underlying inflation pressures remained firm amid rising rents and healthcare costs. The strength in underlying inflation reported by the Labor Department on Wednesday supports views that the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates at its Dec. 18-19 policy meeting. The U.S. central bank has hiked rates three times this year.
The Federal Reserve has left its key policy rate unchanged but signaled that it plans to keep responding to the strong U.S. economy with more interest rate hikes. The next rate increase is expected in December.
United States Federal Reserve officials grew more positive on the economic outlook, citing “substantial underlying economic momentum,” and were increasingly optimistic about achieving their inflation target, according to minutes of last month’s policy meeting.
Robust hiring by United States employers in President Donald Trump's first full month in power, along with rising wages, have economists tipping a faster-than-anticipated cycle of interest rate increases by the US Federal Reserve, beginning this week.
US jobs growth remained solid in November as the economy added 211,000 jobs, slightly above expectations. The data, from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, also showed the jobless rate held at its seven-and-a-half year low of 5%. Construction, food services and retail sectors all saw healthy job increases.
As the Federal Reserve gets ready to debate its interest rate policy stance next week, a poll released Thursday finds a strong majority of US voters surveyed want central bankers to refrain from boosting short-term interest rates, and to instead concentrate on using monetary policy to further boost the job market.