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Inflation picks up as U.S. consumer price index rises 0.3% in April

Inflation picks up in U.S. as consumer price index rises in April
Consumer price index climbs in April
Cars, food and gas get more expensive in April

The cost of living climbed in April at the quickest pace since last summer, a sign that the economy may be picking up speed.

The consumer price index rose 0.3% last month, the biggest gain since June, the Labor Department said Thursday. Over the last 12 months, the cost of living has jumped 2%, an uptick from March's 1.5% annual increase.

Driven by dry conditions in California and elsewhere, food prices rose 0.4% last month, the same as the previous two months. Groceries were up 0.4%.

Energy prices also increased by 0.3%, driven in part by a 2.3% jump in gasoline prices. Gas prices have seen a sharp uptick in recent weeks as refineries switch over to producing the more expensive summer blend fuel.

The cost of new vehicles also rose by 0.3%.

Taking out the often-voltatile food and energy costs, prices climbed 0.2% in April. Many major categories -- including shelter and medical care -- posted increases.

Rising inflation could convince the Federal Reserve to continue reducing the central bank's bond-buying stimulus program.

Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun
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