- The Washington Times - Friday, May 15, 2009

UPDATED:

The Consumer Price Index, the average price of goods and services purchased by U.S. households, was unchanged in April, the Labor Department said Friday.

The prices remained flat mostly because of a decline in food and energy prices, the agency said.

Consumer prices dropped 0.1 percent in March and have fallen 0.7 percent over the past 12 months — the largest amount since 1955 and primarily the result of a 25.2 percent decrease in energy prices.

Prices have not increased as a result of the recession in which high unemployment has reduced spending, then the demand for goods and services. The April number met analysts’ expectations.



The energy index — which includes the prices of gasoline, oil, electricity and natural gas — declined for the second straight month, 2.4 percent in April, after a 3.0 decrease percent in March.

The price of food declined 0.2 percent in April, after a 0.1 percent decrease in March. However, food prices have increased 3.3 percent over the past year.

The drop in energy and food prices were offset by increases in such goods and services as hotels, medical services, new automobiles and cigarettes — as a result of an increase in the federal excise tax.

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