US producer prices rise 0.3 pct. on higher profit margins

Friday, December 11, 2015, Vol. 39, No. 50

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. producer prices rose in November for the first time in four months, driven up by higher profit margins for retailers and wholesalers and a jump in shipping costs.

The Labor Department says the producer price index, which measures prices before they reach the consumer, increased 0.3 percent in November. Excluding the volatile food and energy categories, core prices also rose 0.3 percent.

Even with last month's increases there are few signs of inflation pressures. In the past year, wholesale prices have fallen 1.1 percent and core prices have increased just 0.5 percent. Services, such as retailers' profit margins, make up nearly two-thirds of the producer price index, which also measures the wholesale cost of goods.

Trucking costs jumped 1 percent, the biggest gain in more than three years.