The higher cost of renting and owning a home nudged consumer prices higher in September, but inflation more broadly eased again after a recent runup.
The consumer price index rose 0.1% in September to mark the sixth increase in a row, the government said Thursday. Economists polled by MarketWatch had predicted a 0.2% advance.
Yet the increase in the cost of living over the past 12 months slowed again to 2.3% from 2.7%, the government said Thursday. Two months ago, the yearly rate hit a six-year high of 2.9%.
A more closely followed measure that strips out food and energy also rose 0.1% last month. It’s known as the core rate of inflation.
The yearly increase in the core rate was flat at 2.2%.
About half of the increase in the consumer price index last month was tied to higher rents and the cost of home ownership.
The cost of clothing increased for the first time in fourth months and medical costs rose for the first time in three months. Prices for airline tickets and auto insurance also went up.
Although gasoline prices actually rose last month, they did not increase as much as they normally do in September. As such the seasonal adjustments resulted in gas prices showing a decline.
Food prices were unchanged. The cost of used vehicles fell sharply.
There was some good news for workers. After adjusting for inflation, hourly wages rose a solid 0.3% in September. They are up 0.5% in the past year.
The U.S. economy is the strongest it’s been in two decades, with job openings at a record high and unemployment at a 48-year low.