The consumer price index rose 0.1% in December, with four-fifths of the increase tied to the highest cost of housing. The increase matched the MarketWatch forecast.
If gas and food are stripped out, the so-called core rate of inflation rose a much sharper 0.3%, a notch above the MarketWatch forecast and the highest reading in almost a year.
The 12-month rate of inflation as measured by the CPI slipped to 2.1% from 2.2%.
The more closely followed core rate edged up 1.8% from 1.7%, but it’s been stuck in that range for eight months in a row.
The increase in the cost of living last month was tied largely to increasing rents and home prices.
Also contributing: Higher prices for prescription drugs, new cars and trucks and motor vehicle insurance.
Food prices rose 0.2%, but that increase was more than offset by a 1.2% drop in energy prices.
Adjusted for inflation, hourly wages rose 0.2% to mark the first increase since July. Over the past year “real” wages have only risen 0.4%, however.