US consumer prices rose 2.9 pct, leaving Americans worse off

WASHINGTON — Consumer prices climbed 2.9 per cent in July from a year earlier, a rate of inflation that suggests Americans are earning less than a year ago despite an otherwise solid economy.

The Labor Department said Friday that the consumer price index ticked up 0.2 per cent in July. Annual inflation matched the 2.9 per cent pace from June, which had been the highest level since February 2012. Core prices, which exclude the volatile food and energy categories, rose 0.2 per cent in June and 2.4 per cent from a year earlier.

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Most of July's increase in consumer prices came from higher housing costs. Prices for energy, medical care and apparel slipped in July, while food expenses rose slightly.

Adjusted for inflation, average weekly earnings have fallen 0.1 per cent in the past 12 months.

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