Helped by falling gasoline prices, inflation eased a bit in July, giving American consumers some relief from surging costs. However, overall price increases slowed only modestly from the four-decade high of 9.1% recorded in June, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ latest Consumer Price Index.
Consumer prices climbed 8.5% in July compared with a year earlier, and on a monthly basis, prices were unchanged from June to July, which hasn’t happened in more than two years.
The gasoline index fell 7.7% in July, the largest month-over-month drop since April 2020, while energy prices fell 4.6%.
Also declining in price from June to July were airfares, which decreased nearly 8%, hotel room costs, which declined 2.7%, and used cars, which dipped 0.4%.
Core inflation, a measure that excludes the more volatile food and energy sectors, rose just 0.3%, the smallest month-to-month increase since April. Year over year, core inflation was 5.9% in July, the same as June.
The CPI report for July showed a 1.3% month-to-month rise in the food at home index, as all six major grocery store food group indexes increased.
The index for nonalcoholic beverages rose the most, increasing 2.3% as the index for coffee jumped 3.5%. The index for cereals and bakery products climbed 1.8%.
The Associated Press noted that the inflation numbers, which were lower than anticipated, could mean the Federal Reserve raises short-term interest rates by a lesser margin when it meets in September.
Paula Wolf is a freelance writer