Prices May Have Tumbled as Economy Sank: U.S. Economy Preview

Prices May Have Tumbled as Economy Sank: U.S. Economy Preview

The cost of living in the U.S. probably fell in November by the most in six decades, while slumps in manufacturing and homebuilding worsened, sending the economy deeper into a recession, economists said before reports this week.

By Bob Willis

Consumer prices probably dropped 1.2 percent last month, the most since records began in 1947, according to the median estimate in a Bloomberg News survey. Builders broke ground on the fewest houses in almost a half century and factory output continued to slide.

Costs of oil and other raw materials plummeted last month as the credit crisis caused consumers to slash spending, prompting automakers to plead for a bailout. Tumbling sales have retailers cutting prices, setting the stage for the Federal Reserve this week to lower its key rate target to its lowest level ever.

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