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Inflation stayed high in July as the economy recovered

Inflation remained high in July but showed signs of cooling as the economic recovery continued amid pandemic-related supply problems and signs that the recent surge in coronavirus infections is weakening some business activity.

Consumer prices rose 5.4% year over year in July, the same pace as in June, the highest 12-month rate since 2008, the Labor Department reported Wednesday.

However, price pressure eased on a monthly basis. The department’s consumer price index rose by a seasonally adjusted 0.5% in July compared with June, much more slowly than its 0.9% increase in June, but well above the average rate of 0.2% from 2000 to 2019.

The CPI measures what consumers pay for goods and services, including groceries, clothing, restaurant meals, leisure, and vehicles.

The so-called core price index, which excludes the often volatile categories of food and energy, rose by 4.3% year-on-year, after 4.5% in June. The core CPI rose 0.3% in July compared with June, which is also well below the average increase of 0.8% in the previous three months.

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