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Metro area prices post modest increase for April, led by higher rents

A customer shops in the meat department at

A customer shops in the meat department at a Walmart Neighborhood Market in Levittown on April 24. Credit: AP/Mark Lennihan

Consumer prices in the metropolitan area rose modestly in April compared with a year earlier on higher housing costs.

The federal Bureau of Labor Statistics said last week its consumer price index for the 25-county region that includes Long Island climbed 1.6 percent last month compared with April 2018.

The index posted an identical year-over-year rise in March, January and December. The February increase was 1.3 percent.

Last month, residential rents climbed 3 percent compared with April 2018, according to Martin Kohli, the bureau's chief regional economist.

The cost of groceries was up 1 percent year over year.

Gasoline prices rose 0.8 percent in April, while medical care prices were up 3.7 percent.

These increases were partially offset by declines in the cost of electricity and natural gas, which fell 3.1 percent and 0.2 percent, respectively, year over year.

The price of clothing was down 5 percent last month compared with April 2018.

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