Price Increases Held in Check by Plunging Energy Costs: Falling energy costs tamed producer price inflation in November, despite a blip in new car prices and a weather-related jump in food costs. Prices paid to goods producers such as farms and factories were unchanged last month after falling 0.2% in October, the Labor Department said. It was the seventh consecutive month the producer price index either held steady or declined. However, prices excluding the volatile food and energy sectors--the so-called core rate--rose 0.4% after falling 0.5% a month earlier. In another report, the department said applications for unemployment insurance seesawed up by 13,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 335,000.