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Metro consumer prices up 1.1% from Feb.'13

In February, the cost of gasoline fell 6.8

In February, the cost of gasoline fell 6.8 percent compared with the same time in 2013. (Credit: Getty Images)

Consumer prices in the metropolitan area rose modestly last month from a year earlier, on higher costs for electricity and housing.

The federal Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Tuesday that its consumer price index for the 31-county region that includes Long Island was 1.1 percent higher in February compared with a year ago.

That was the smallest increase since October.

Martin Kohli, the bureau's chief regional economist, said that for 11 of the past 12 months the price index has risen less than 2 percent, year over year.

Month to month, prices in the metro area actually fell 0.2 percent last month from January.

Energy prices have been restrained. In February, the cost of gasoline fell 6.8 percent compared with the same time in 2013. Natural gas prices also were down 1.6 percent, but electricity soared 5.5 percent, year over year.

The cost of groceries rose three-tenths of one percent in February compared with a year ago.

Residential rents were up 2.6 percent from February 2013, while the cost of medical care climbed 1.9 percent.

Prices for clothing and home furnishings fell 2.7 percent and 2.8 percent, respectively, year over year.

Nationally, cheaper energy kept consumer prices in check last month, despite a big rise in the cost of food.

The bureau said the consumer price index rose 0.1 percent in February, month over month, matching January's increase. It was the smallest increase in five months.

In the past 12 months, U.S. prices rose just 1.1 percent -- the same pace as Long Island's -- down from 1.6 percent in January.-- With AP

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