US consumer prices tick up just 0.1% as inflation stays tame

In this June 26, 2019 photo, a man adds fuel to his vehicle with the price of gas displayed at the pump at a gas station in Orlando, Fla. On Thursday, July 11, the Labor Department reports on U.S. consumer prices for June.

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. consumer prices rose just 0.1% in June, as cheaper gas prices were offset by higher rents and auto costs.

The Labor Department said Thursday that the consumer price index increased 1.6% in June from a year earlier. That is down from 1.8% in May and the second straight drop. Excluding the volatile food and energy prices, core inflation rose 0.3% in June, the biggest increase in 18 months. It rose 2.1% from a year ago.

Inflation has been muted throughout the 10-year expansion, now the longest on record, even as the unemployment rate has dropped to 3.7%, near the lowest in five decades. Federal Reserve policymakers have cited low inflation readings as a justification for potentially lowering short-term interest rates at its next meeting in late July.

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