US consumer inflation got a bump in October, as prices for fuel and electricity shot up, rising along with the cost of shelter and medical care, the government said today.
The increase in overall consumer prices was the largest in nine months, but one closely-watched measure suggest price pressures remained tame.
Costs for used cars and trucks also jumped, reversing declines in September, but new car prices fell for the second month in a row, according to the Labor Department report.
The US consumer price index rose 0.3% for the month, matching analyst expectations and posting the biggest gain since January.
The gasoline index jumped 3% and prices for electricity gained 1.7%, offsetting falling prices for food and natural gas services.
Compared to October of last year, the consumer price index rose 2.5%, up from the 2.3% annual gain recorded in September.
But when erratic food and fuel prices are stripped out, the "core" CPI rose by a slower 0.2% over September, also matching analyst expectations.
Compared to October of last year, the core index actually slowed to 2.1%, down a tenth from September's reading.
This was despite a record 4.9% annual gain in the cost of appliances, spurred higher by a 9.9% increase in the cost of washing machines, which are subject to President Donald Trump's steep import duties.
The slower year-on-year gain in the core CPI could calm Wall Street fears that the Federal Reserve will be more aggressive about raising interest rates.
With US unemployment near a 50-year low and job creation continuing unabated, the Fed has projected four more rate increases before the end of 2019.
Today's figures show that prices for used cars and trucks rose 2.6% and the cost of shelter also grew, offsetting decreases for clothing and new cars.
In a separate report today, the Labor Department also said worker pay failed to keep pace with inflation in October, rising by a tenth of a percentage point less than CPI - resulting in a net loss employee earnings of 0.1% for the month.