WASHINGTON – U.S. consumer prices, driven up by rising energy costs, rose moderately in December, closing out a year in which consumer inflation rose at the fastest pace in five years.
The Labor Department says its consumer price index increased 0.3 percent last month, up from a 0.2 percent gain in November. Energy prices, which have been rebounding, were up 1.5 percent, led by another jump in gasoline pump prices. Food costs were unchanged for the fifth straight month.
For all of 2016, prices were up 2.1 percent, compared to a 0.7 percent rise in 2015. It was the largest annual increase since a 3 percent jump in 2011. Core inflation, which excludes food and energy, was up 0.2 percent in December and 2.2 percent for the year.