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April 1999, Vol. 122, No. 4
Consumer inflation remains modest in 1998
The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) for All Items for the U.S. city average increased 1.6 percent in 1998, about the same as during the prior year when the index increased 1.7 percent.1 Last year’s rise was the smallest annual increase since a 1.1-percent advance in 1986, when oil prices plummeted, and the second smallest since 1964.
As was the case in 1997, commodities prices were, on balance, relatively stable. Sharp decreases in prices were reported for a number of commodities, including gasoline, computers, clothing, and toys. Commodities, which generally are subject to greater global competition than services, rose by just 0.4 percent. Within commodities, durables prices decreased 0.5 percent, while nondurables prices increased 0.7 percent. Services prices increased 2.6 percent in 1998. (See table 1.)
The CPI-U excluding food and energy prices (often called the core CPI-U) increased 2.4 percent, slightly more than the 2.2-percent increase that occurred during the prior year.
This excerpt is from an article published in the April 1999 issue of the Monthly Labor Review. The full text of the article is available in Adobe Acrobat's Portable Document Format (PDF). See How to view a PDF file for more information.
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1 Annual percent changes are December-to-December changes unless otherwise noted.
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