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Metro-area inflation rises; consumer prices hit 10-month high in U.S.

Gasoline is pumped into an automobile at a

Gasoline is pumped into an automobile at a Phillips 66 gas station in Little Rock, Ark. on April 11, 2014. Credit: AP

Prices in the metropolitan area increased last month compared with a year earlier as the cost of electricity and residential rents climbed.

The federal Bureau of Labor Statistics on Thursday reported its consumer price index for the 31-county region that includes Long Island rose 1.6 percent in April compared with the same period in 2013.

Martin Kohli, the bureau's chief regional economist, said year-over-year increases in the price index had been under 2 percent since August 2013.

Electricity priconalles were up 5.3 percent last month from a year ago, while the cost of gasoline increased 1.5 percent.

Grocery prices rose 0.3 percent and housing costs climbed 3.1 percent. Medical care was up 2.1 percent, year over year.

Nationally, higher food and gas costs pushed up U.S. consumer prices in April by the most in 10 months, evidence that inflation is ticking up from very low levels.

The Labor Department says the consumer price index rose 0.3 percent last month after a 0.2 percent gain in March. Over the past 12 months, prices have increased 2 percent, the largest gain since July and matching the Federal Reserve's inflation target.

Excluding the volatile food and energy categories, core prices rose 0.2 percent in April and have risen 1.8 percent in the past 12 months.

Food prices jumped 0.4 percent for the third straight month, driven by the largest increase in the cost of meat in 10 years. Gas prices rose 2.3 percent, the first increase in four months.

With The Associated Press

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