WASHINGTON — U.S. consumer prices rose a lower-than-expected 0.3% last month, the smallest increase in seven months and a hopeful sign that inflation pressures may be cooling.
The August gain fell from a 0.5% increase in July and a 0.9% surge in June, the Labor Department reported today. It was the smallest increase since a similar 0.3% rise in January.
The August slowdown in prices was seen as offering some hope that Americans were finally starting to see some relief from a price surge earlier in the year.
Over the past 12 months, prices are up 5.3% a slight improvement after two months of gains of 5.4%, which had been the highest 12-month gains since 2008.
Core prices, which exclude volatile food and energy costs, rose a tiny 0.1% in August and are up 4% over the past year.
Republicans have attacked the Biden administration for this year’s surge in prices but administration officials have insisted that the price jump will be temporary and pries will begin to return to more normal levels as numerous supply chain problems are resolved.