Inflationary Pressure Weakened in September

The Department of Labor’s Consumer Price Index, based on prices paid on a large range of consumer goods, rose two-tenths of a percentage point in September. That matched Wall Street’s expectations and represented an easing of price pressure from the 0.4 percent gain in August.

Compared with a year ago, prices were up 1.4 percent. The Federal Reserve, which uses a different measure of prices that tends to run lower than the CPI, said this summer that it aims to have inflation average 2 percent over time. Since inflation has been running below that target, the Fed is attempting to raise inflation above 2 percent.

Core CPI, which ignores the effects of the volatile categories of food and energy, was also up two-tenths of a percent. Compared with a year ago, it was up 0.7 tenths.

The Department of Labor noted that prices of used cars accounted for most of the monthly price gains, indicating that prices in other categories had fallen or remained unchanged. Food prices were unchanged, with an increase in food away from home offsetting a decline in the prices of food at home.

Inflationary pressures have remained weak throughout the year, upending the expectations of many that a return to zero-interest-rate policy from the Fed and huge emergency spending programs would combine with production disruptions to raise prices.