Inflation eased in February but remained stubbornly high, presenting a challenge for the Federal Reserve as it confronts how to slow the economy with higher interest rates at the same time it moves to stem banking problems.
The consumer-price index, a closely watched inflation gauge, rose 6% in February from a year earlier, down from a 6.4% gain the prior month, the Labor Department said. It was the smallest increase since September 2021. When excluding volatile food and energy costs, prices advanced a slightly slower 5.5%. Economists view so-called core prices as a better indicator of future inflation.
Monthly data showed price pressures persisted in many corners of the economy. Core prices increased by a seasonally adjusted 0.5% in February, the largest monthly gain in five months. Shelter costs rose 0.8% over the month, matching the largest monthly gain since the 1980s.