The consumer price index increased 0.2% in January at a seasonally adjusted rate, the same growth rate for the fifth month in a row, as core prices unexpectedly declined for the first time in more than 27 years, the Labor Department reported Friday.
Core prices, excluding food and energy costs, declined 0.1%, the first negative monthly change since December 1982.
Economists expected total consumer prices to increase 0.3% and for core prices to increase 0.1%, according to the median estimate from Thomson Reuters.
Total prices rose 2.6% from a year ago following a 2.7% increase for December. December’s monthly CPI increase was revised higher to a 0.2% increase from 0.1% initially reported.
Energy prices rose 2.8% in January for the ninth consecutive month. Gasoline prices rose 4.4% and 51.3% from a year ago. The household energy index declined 3.5% from a year ago.
Core prices fell on a 0.5% decline in both the shelter index and new vehicles. Core prices rose 1.6% from a year ago.
Real average hourly earnings were unchanged in January, the second straight month of no change.