A plunge in gas prices last month lowered consumer prices by the most in six years. But excluding the volatile food and energy costs, prices actually rose.
The Labor Department says the consumer price index fell 0.7 percent in January, the sharpest decrease since December 2008. Tumbling prices at the pump drove nearly all of the decline.
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Core prices, which exclude food and energy, rose 0.2 percent.
Consumer prices have slipped 0.1 percent over the past 12 months. Over the past year, core prices have risen 1.6 percent, below the level that the Federal Reserve considers optimal for a healthy economy.