POLITICS: PennAve

Inflation declines in October

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Labor,PennAve,Joseph Lawler,Economy,Federal Reserve,Ben Bernanke,Inflation

Inflation slipped in October for the first time in months as falling gasoline prices pulled down overall consumer prices.

The Labor Department reported Wednesday morning that the Consumer Price Index fell 0.1 percent in October, the first decline since April.

Year-over-year inflation, as measured by the CPI, increased just 1 percent. Core CPI, which excludes food and energy, is up 1.7 percent on a yearly basis. Neither number is adjusted to take seasonal fluctuations into account.

The target for inflation set by the Federal Reserve is 2 percent. Wednesday's reading from the Bureau of Labor Statistics is the latest indication that inflation is running below the central bank's goal. Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke said Tuesday night that he expects inflation to move toward the target over the medium-term.

Other measures of inflation show similarly small increases. The core personal consumption expenditures price index, the measure produced by the Bureau of Economic Analysis and preferred by Bernanke, stood at 1.2 percent for September.

A separate report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics on Wednesday morning showed relatively strong retail sales in October. Total sales increased 0.4 percent, rather than being flat as expected. The report was an indication that Americans continued to spend despite the large reported declines in consumer sentiment that followed the government shutdown and congressional confrontation over raising the debt ceiling.

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