WASHINGTON – U.S. consumer prices were up slightly in April, but overall gains were held back by another decline in energy costs that offset the biggest one-month jump in medical care in eight years.
The Labor Department says consumer prices edged up 0.1 percent last month compared to March, when prices rose a modest 0.2 percent. It was the smallest monthly gain since prices fell 0.7 percent in January.
Energy costs were down 1.3 percent and food prices were unchanged, keeping inflation low.
Core inflation, which excludes volatile food and energy, increased 0.3 percent. It was the biggest gain in 15 months. Core inflation was driven higher by a 0.7 percent rise in medical care, reflecting a surge in hospital costs.
Inflation pressures have generally been well contained since the recession.