August 19, 2014 8:35 AM, EDT
Consumer Prices Rise at Slowest Pace in Five Months
Ty Wright/Bloomberg News

The cost of living in the U.S. climbed in July at the slowest pace in five months, indicating price pressures remain limited even as the economy picks up.

The consumer price index increased 0.1%, matching the median forecast of 80 economists surveyed by Bloomberg, after rising 0.3% the prior month, a Labor Department report showed. Stripping out volatile food and fuel, the so-called core measure also climbed 0.1%, less than projected.

Overall consumer prices rose 2% in the 12 months ended July, following a 2.1% year-over-year advance the prior month. The core measure increased 1.9% from July 2013, the same as in the prior 12-month period.

Energy costs decreased 0.3% in July from a month earlier. Declines in fuel prices have been giving households some relief in recent weeks. The average cost of a gallon of regular gasoline was $3.45 as of Aug. 17, down from this year’s peak of $3.70 in April, according to AAA, the biggest U.S. auto club.

Today’s report showed food costs advanced 0.4% in July, reflecting broad-based increases.

The core rate reflected increases in rents, new cars and medical care, that were almost completely offset by lower costs for airline fares, used cars, tobacco, recreation and household furnishings. The price of plane tickets dropped by the most since December 1995.

The CPI is the broadest of three price gauges from the Labor Department because it includes all goods and services. About 60% of the index covers prices consumers pay for services from medical visits to airline fares, movie tickets and rents.