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Metro area price index up as rent, gas costs rise, report says

Consumer prices in the metropolitan area rose last month compared with a year ago on higher costs for residential rents and gasoline.

The federal Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday that its consumer price index for the 31-county region that includes Long Island climbed 2 percent in April compared with April 2016.

It was the smallest such increase since December when the index began rising more than 2 percent per month, year over year.

The cost of housing was a key factor behind the most recent increase, said Martin Kohli, the bureau’s chief regional economist. Last month, residential rents climbed 2.5 percent from a year earlier, he said.

In addition, the cost of gasoline continued to rise, up 16.8 percent from April 2016.

Medical care and recreation increased 2.8 percent and 3.5 percent, respectively, year over year.

Natural gas prices rose 12.1 percent last month compared with a year earlier.

These increases were partially offset by the cost of groceries and electricity declining 0.2 percent and 1.6 percent, respectively, year over year.

The cost of furnishing and maintaining a home fell 2.1 percent last month compared with April 2016.

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