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Consumer prices in metro area up sharply in December

Consumer prices in the metropolitan area rose sharply in December compared with a year earlier primarily because of higher residential rents.

The federal Bureau of Labor Statistics said this week its consumer price index for the 25-county region that includes Long Island climbed 2.2% last month compared with December 2018. It was largest year-over-year increase since August 2018.

Residential rents were up 3% last month compared with December 2018.

The cost of medical care jumped 4.5%, year over year. Education services, including school tuition and day care fees, rose 3.7%.

Grocery prices increased 0.4% last month compared with December 2018.

The cost of gasoline and automobile insurance was up 0.9% and 3.2%.

These increases were partially offset by declines in electricity and natural gas costs, which fell 0.1% and 0.9%, year over year. Clothing prices were down 2.1%.

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