By Paul Wiseman, The Associated Press on January 14, 2020.
WASHINGTON – Rising energy costs drove U.S. consumer prices higher in December, and American workersâ€™ earnings couldnâ€™t keep up.
The Labor Department said Tuesday that its consumer price index rose 0.2% last month, lifted by a 2.8% increase in gasoline prices. Over the past year, consumer inflation is up 2.3%. Excluding volatile food and energy prices, so-called core consumer inflation rose just 0.1% in December and 2.3% over the past year.
Inflation is running close to the Federal Reserveâ€™s 2% annual target. The Fed cut short-term interest rates three times last year, partly to protect a record-breaking U.S. economic expansion from the effects of President Donald Trump’s trade war with China.
The Labor Department also reported that workersâ€™ hourly earnings, adjusted for inflation, fell 0.1% in December after rising 0.1% in November. Over the past year, workersâ€™ hourly earnings rose 0.6%. But they worked fewer hours, so inflation-adjusted weekly earnings showed â€œessentially no changeâ€™â€™ over the past year, the department said.
Over the past year, gasoline prices are up 7.9% and the cost of shelter has risen 3.2%. Used-car prices are down 0.7%, and clothing prices have fallen 1.2%.
You must be logged in to post a comment.