The Free Press, Mankato, MN

State, national news

February 21, 2013

Consumer prices little changed

WASHINGTON — The cost of living was little changed in January for a second month as a drop in energy costs made up for gains in other goods and services.

The unchanged reading in the consumer-price index compared with a 0.1 percent gain projected by the median estimate of economists surveyed by Bloomberg, figures from the Labor Department showed Thursday in Washington. The so-called core measure, which excludes more volatile food and energy costs, increased by the most in more than a year, pushed up by gains in clothing, hotel rates and airline fares.

Fuel costs have climbed this month after an increase in the payroll tax also took a bite out of take-home pay, which may prompt households to rein in purchases and cause companies to hold the line on prices. Joblessness at 7.9 percent may also restrain wage gains, providing a further check on inflation that will give the Federal Reserve room to maintain monetary stimulus.

"The big story from the consumer standpoint is the rise in gasoline prices in the last four weeks, which will start to strain wallets at a time when there's also a problem with tax refunds going out more slowly and the payroll tax hitting them," said Omair Sharif, a U.S. economist at RBS Securities Inc. in Stamford, Conn., who correctly projected prices would be unchanged.

Consumer-price index estimates in the Bloomberg survey of the 84 economists ranged from a drop of 0.1 percent to a gain of 0.4 percent.

Compared with a year earlier, consumer prices rose 1.6 percent in January, the smallest 12-month gain since July, Thursday's report showed. They climbed 1.7 percent in the 12 months ended December.

The 0.3 percent increase in the core reading was the biggest since May 2011 and followed a 0.1 percent gain in December. Economists projected a 0.2 percent pick-up. Core prices rose 1.9 percent for the year through January, the same as in December.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
State, national news
  • Target New CEO [Duplicate] Target names Pepsi's Cornell as chairman, CEO MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Target has hired Pepsi executive Brian Cornell as its new chairman and CEO as it looks to recover from a huge data breach and troubles in Canada. Cornell replaces interim CEO John Mulligan, who is chief financial officer for the M

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • Brain wave monitoring is better gauge than using a focus group, study says To predict a large population’s likely response to something — a product, politician or policy — political consultants, marketing gurus and advertising execs have long favored the focus group. Ask a small segment of the target audience what it thinks

    July 31, 2014

  • Argentina slides into default as debt talks fail NEW YORK (AP) — The collapse of talks with U.S. creditors sent Argentina into its second debt default in 13 years and raised questions about what comes next for financial markets and the South American nation's staggering economy. A midnight Wednesd

    July 31, 2014

  • Exchange Bee Researcher [Duplicate] Bee researcher takes aim at central Minnesota park WAITE PARK — Crystal Boyd strained four bees, three flies and one leafhopper from a yellow pan trap, the third of 12 in a transect topping a granite outcrop in Quarry Park Scientific and Natural Area.She popped everything into a labeled, zip-top plas

    July 31, 2014 4 Photos

  • Cinema verite documentarian Robert Drew dies at 90 Filmmaker Robert Drew, a pioneer of the modern documentary who in "Primary" and other movies mastered the intimate, spontaneous style known as cinema verite and schooled a generation of influential directors that included D.A. Pennebaker and Albert M

    July 30, 2014

  • Homeowner killed, another injured in Vegas crime spree LAS VEGAS — A horrific carjacking and home invasion spree ended with two people dead and a woman in critical condition. One victim, Richard Ramos, a 59-year-old father of four, “fought to his death” to protect his wife and children from their attack

    July 30, 2014

  • Officer Shooting Minnesota-9 [Duplicate] UPDATE: Suspect in Minnesota officer killing in custody WEST ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Police in Minnesota say a man wanted in the shooting death of an officer is in custody after being shot by police. St. Paul police spokesman Sgt. Paul Paulos says 39-year-old Brian Fitch Sr. got out of a minivan firing at

    July 30, 2014 4 Photos

  • Officer Shooting Minnesota-3 [Duplicate] Minnesota officer killed making traffic stop WEST ST. PAUL (AP) — A police officer in Minnesota was fatally shot Wednesday while making a traffic stop and authorities said they were searching for a suspect. Mendota Heights police officer Scott Patrick, 47, was shot about 12:20 p.m. after pulli

    July 30, 2014 2 Photos

  • Possible suspect caught in Minnesota cop shooting WEST ST. PAUL (AP) — A potential suspect in the shooting of a police officer in Minnesota has been captured. Minnesota Public Radio News reports that the officer was killed. Television news footage showed the man being pulled from his vehicle Wednes

    July 30, 2014

  • Police shooting reported in West St. Paul WEST ST. PAUL (AP) — Police are responding to the reported shooting of an officer in West St. Paul. Details weren't immediately available. Calls from The Associated Press to several police and city departments in the area weren't immediately returne

    July 30, 2014