Minute gains in January US consumer prices

Business | 14 Feb 2020 11:16 am

U.S. consumer prices gained  modestly last month, weighed down by falling gasoline prices.

The Labor Department said Thursday that its consumer price index blipped up by 0.1 percent in January after rising by 0.2 percent in December. Over the past year, consumer inflation is up by 2.5 percent, biggest gain since October 2018.

Excluding volatile food and energy prices, so-called core consumer inflation was up by 0.2 percent in January and 2.3 percent over the past year. Gasoline prices dropped by 1.6 percent in January after surging by 3.1 percent in December. They are up by 12.8 percent over the past year.

Consumer inflation is running close to the Federal Reserve’s 2 percent annual target.

Workers’ inflation-adjusted hourly earnings rose 0.1% in January after falling 0.1% in December. Their real hourly earnings are up 0.6% over the past year. But because they worked fewer hours, their weekly inflation-adjusted earnings showed “essentially no change’’ over the past year, the Labor Department said.

Food prices posted an annual increase of 1.8 percent on a 3.1 percent jump in restaurant prices. New car prices were up by 0.1 percent over the past year; used car prices dropped by 2 percent. Medical care prices gained by 5.1 percent from January 2019.-AP


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