Consumer Inflation Rises 3.2% in October

The Labor Department said Tuesday that the consumer price index, a broad measure of the price for everyday goods including gasoline, groceries and rent, was unchanged in October from the previous month. Prices climbed 3.2% from the same time last year.

Other parts of the report pointed to cooling price pressures within the economy. Core prices, which exclude the more volatile measurements of food and energy, climbed 0.2%, or 4% annually.

Consumers continued to see some reprieve in October. The price of gasoline plunged 5% last month and is down 5.3% from the same time last year. The cost of used cars and trucks dropped 0.8% over the month and is down 7.2% compared with the same time one year ago. Airline tickets also fell 0.9% in October, following increases in both September and August.

Other price gains proved persistent and stubbornly high in October. Shelter costs, which was the largest contributor to core inflation last month, rose 0.2% on a monthly basis and are up 6.7% over the past year. Grocery costs rose 0.3% in October – up from 0.1% in September – and are up 2.1% compared with the same time last year.

The Federal Reserve has signaled it is closely watching the report for evidence inflation is finally subsiding as policymakers try to cool the economy with a series of interest rate hikes. Officials approved 11 rate increases in a span of just 16 months, lifting the benchmark federal funds rate from nearly zero to the highest level since 2001.