WASHINGTON — Consumer prices increased 0.3% in August on higher energy costs and posted the first back-to-back price increases of the year, the Labor Department reported Friday.

Core prices, excluding food and energy items, were unchanged for the month.

Economists expected consumer prices would rise 0.2% and that core prices would increase 0.1%, according to the median estimate.

Consumer prices also rose an unrevised 0.3% in July, while core prices were up an unrevised 0.1% in the month.

For the 12 months ending in August, consumer prices increased 1.1% and core prices rose 0.9%.

The 12-month change for core prices has been a 0.9% increase for five straight months.

Real average hourly earnings for all employees was unchanged in August following a 0.1% decline in July.

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