Inflation drifted lower last month, but the descent from historic highs remains painfully slow and a key measure set a new 40-year record.
Consumer prices increased 8.2% from a year earlier, down from an 8.3% rise in August and a four-decade high of 9.1% in June, as climbing food and rent costs again offset falling gasoline prices, according to the Labor Department’s Consumer Price Index. Last month’s increase defied forecasts for a more rapid slowdown in inflation.
On a monthly basis, consumer prices edged up a larger-than-expected 0.4% after a 0.1% increase in August. And while overall inflation is softening gradually, a key measure of underlying price gains hit a new historic level last month.