Consumer Prices Rose a Modest 0.1 Percent in September

(CN) — Consumer prices rose slightly in September, largely due to a decrease in energy prices, the Labor Department said Thursday.

The 0.1 percent increase in the consumer price index followed a 0.2 percent rise in August.

It was the smallest monthly gain since June, the government said.

For the 12 months ending in September, consumer prices were up 2.3 percent.

In September, energy prices fell 0.5 percent after a 1.9 percent surge in August. Food costs were flat in September after a tiny 0.1 percent rise in August.

Core inflation, which excludes volatile energy and food costs, rose 0.1 percent in September, the same level as in August. It is up 2.2 percent over the past year.

The Federal Reserve has raised interest rates three times this year and signaled that it will raise rates one more time in 2018 in an effort to make sure that a strong economy and low unemployment do not trigger an unwanted rise in inflation.

But President Donald Trump has stepped up his criticism of the Fed in recent days, suggesting on Wednesday that it had “gone crazy” raising short-term interest rates.

He continued his criticism Wednesday night, telling reporters gathered for Trump campaign rally in Pennsylvania that “The Fed is making a mistake.”

In economic other news, the Social Security Administration announced Thursday that millions of recipients of Social Security and other government benefits will receive a 2.8 percent increase in their monthly payments starting in January.

That will be the biggest cost-of-living increase in seven years. The adjustment is based on the third quarter average for consumer prices this year compared to the third quarter of 2017.

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