Consumer prices rose by a seasonally adjusted 0.5 percent in November, their second moderate month in a row, as energy costs and food prices increased modestly, the Labor Department reported yesterday.
Ample food supplies, relative stability in world oil markets, a slower rise in wages and the effect of the deepening recession on markets generally have combined to hold the inflation rate in the last two months to about 6 percent on an annual basis.
Most economists say they expect inflation to continue to abate in coming months, with next year's consumer price index increase to be 7 to 8 percent. In 1979 surging world oil prices pushed the CPI up 13.3 percent. It rose 12.4 percent in 1980.
For the 12 months ended Nov. 30 the consumer price index has gone up 9.6 percent.
The moderate pace of food price inflation may continue, too. The Agriculture Department predicted yesterday that grocery store prices for food will increase about 6 percent in 1982.
Meanwhile, a bit of better news emerged on the recession front. The Commerce Department said that new orders for durable goods, which plummeted 9.8 percent in October, bounced back somewhat in November.
Orders for durables--cars, airplanes, machinery and so forth-- rose 1.1 percent to $78.7 billion. However, orders remained below the level of shipments of such goods, so that order backlogs at the nation's factories continued to decline.
The new-orders figures suggest that business investment is not collapsing the way it did at the end of 1974, a development that greatly worsened that recession, analysts said.
During November, food and beverage prices, including those in restaurants, climbed 0.2 percent, and grocery store prices did not rise at all, the Labor Department said. Food prices have risen 4.9 percent in the last year.
Medical care costs continued to increase rapidly in November, rising 1 percent for the month. They have risen 12.3 percent in the last year. Charges for hospital rooms rose 2 1/2 percent, the sixth consecutive large monthly increase. Doctors' fees increased 1.1 percent.
Transportation costs rose 0.8 percent, less than the 1.2 percent jumps in September and October, as gasoline, used cars and auto finance charges increased substantially but by less than during the previous month.
The housing component of the CPI rose 0.4 percent, following no change in October and increases of 1 percent or more in each of the preceding five months. Home financing costs rose 0.8 percent, as a 1.9 percent increase in mortgage interest costs more than offset a 0.8 percent drop in house prices.
After seven straight monthly declines, fuel oil prices turned up again and are now more than 19 percent higher than a year ago. The cost of natural gas and electricity continued their rapid upward movement. They have risen 15.2 percent in the last 12 months.
The report said the unadjusted consumer price index rose to 280.7 in November, which means that goods and services costing $10 in 1967 cost $28.07 last month.
The Commerce Department report on durables showed a healthy 10 1/2 percent jump in new orders in the key nondefense capital goods sector. These orders rose by $2.2 billion to $23.2 billion after an 8.8 percent decline in October.
There was no good news in the transportation sector, where orders dropped 7.4 percent to $14.6 billion, almost entirely because of fewer orders for automobiles and parts. New orders for primary metals also were down 1.1 percent in November to $10.1 billion.