WASHINGTON — U.S. consumer prices increased only slightly in September as higher energy costs were offset by flat food prices. The figures are the latest evidence that slow economic growth is keeping inflation tame.
The Labor Department says the consumer price index rose a seasonally adjusted 0.2 percent in September, up from 0.1 percent in August. Higher gas, electricity and other energy costs rose 0.8 percent, making up about half the overall increase.
In the past year, consumer prices have increased just 1.2 percent. That’s the smallest 12-month gain since April, and it’s below the Federal Reserve’s 2 percent inflation target.
Excluding volatile food and energy costs, core prices rose just 0.1 percent and are up 1.7 percent in the past 12 months.