February 20, 2009

Consumer price index inches up

The Consumer Price Index increased 0.3 percent in January after falling for three consecutive months, the U.S. Department of Labor said Friday.

The increase came in as economists predicted and will be seen as good news for those who fear falling prices that tend to stall the economy.

Core inflation, taking out the influences of food and energy costs, rose 0.2 percent in the month.

Energy costs rose 1.7 percent, with gasoline rising 6.0 percent for the month. Food prices also gained slightly, up 0.1 percent, and housing costs were unchanged, the report said.

Medical care cost increases, having avoided the downward trend in the past three months, rose 0.4 percent, after gaining 0.3 percent in December and 0.2 percent in November. Recreation costs, however, dropped 0.2 percent.