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Higher rents spur modest rise in Consumer Price Index for Long Island

Consumer prices in the metropolitan area rose modestly in September compared with a year earlier on higher residential rents, but lower prices for gasoline and electricity.

The federal Bureau of Labor Statistics said Thursday its consumer price index for the 25-county region that includes Long Island climbed 1.4 percent last month compared with September 2018.

The year-over-year increase was the smallest since February’s 1.3 percent.

Rents increased 3.5% in September compared with a year ago “and drove the 12-month change” in the index, said Martin Kohli, the bureau’s chief regional economist.

The price of gasoline was off 9%, year over year. Electricity was down 3.2% while natural gas was up 0.4%.

Overall, the cost of household energy fell 5.6% in the 12-month period, the biggest decline in three years, Kohli said.

The cost of medical care jumped 5.2%, year over year. Used automobile prices were up 2.9%, and tuition, school fees and child care rose 3.7%.

These increases were partially offset by a 0.4% drop in grocery prices from September 2018. The cost of clothing also was down 5.1%.

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