As energy prices retreated, U.S. consumer prices fell 0.1% in August, government data showed Sept. 19. The Labor Department's consumer price index (CPI) compared with analysts' expectations for a flat reading. It was the first decline in the headline inflation index since October 2006.
The core CPI, which excludes food and energy costs, rose 0.2%, in line with Wall Street expectations. Over the past 12 months, prices have risen 2% while the core index showed a 2.1% increase.
Energy prices fell a steep 3.2% in August, marking the third straight month of price declines and the largest decline since October 2006. But in September energy costs have been higher.
Food and housing prices rose 0.4% in August, while transportation prices declined 1.2% and apparel prices fell 0.5%.
Real average weekly earnings, adjusted for inflation, rose 0.5% in August. Without adjusting for inflation, average hourly earnings rose 0.3% in the month.
On Sept. 18, producer prices, a measure of inflation at the wholesale level, fell 1.4% in August. Core prices at the wholesale level rose 0.2%.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2007