Consumer prices up 2.2% for the year

By Julianne Pepitone, staff reporter

NEW YORK ( -- A key index of prices paid by consumers ticked lower in April but is still higher from a year earlier, the government said Wednesday.

The Consumer Price Index, the Labor Department's key measure of inflation, has increased 2.2% over the last year. But that is the smallest 12-month increase since January 1966.

"Inflation continues to be a non-issue," said Anika Khan, Wells Fargo economist, in a research note.

On a monthly basis, CPI fell by 0.1% in April. Economists surveyed by expected a 0.1% jump. The decline was largely due to a 1.4% drop in the energy index, the report said.

Despite its April decline, the energy index has soared 18.5% over the last year.

The small overall CPI increases "should continue to allow the Fed to keep short-term interest rates low," Khan said.

Core CPI: The even more closely watched core CPI, which excludes volatile food and energy prices, rose 0.9% on an annual basis and was unchanged over the month.

Index-by-index: The food index jumped 0.5% on an annual basis. It rose 0.2% in April, the same increase as the previous month.

The indexes for recreation, new and used motor vehicles, and medical care also posted increases in April. Other sectors declined, including apparel and household furnishings.

CPI is based on prices of goods and services that people buy for day-to-day living. Prices are collected each month in 87 urban areas across the country, from about 4,000 residences and 25,000 stores. To top of page

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