Consumer prices in the metropolitan area rose at a modest rate in April compared with a year ago. However, the increase was enough to be the fastest gain in prices since October 2014.
The federal Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Tuesday that its consumer price index for the 31-county region that includes Long Island climbed 1.0 percent last month compared with April 2015.
It was largest year-over-year increase in nearly a year and a half, when the index was up 1.3 percent in October 2014 compared with October 2013.
Martin Kohli, the bureau’s chief regional economist, said Tuesday that the recent boost in prices was due largely to a 4 percent rise, year over year, in residential rents.
The cost of restaurant meals climbed 3.6 percent in April compared with a year earlier. Grocery prices fell 1.1 percent in the same period.
The cost of energy was a mixed bag: Gasoline prices were off 12.9 percent from April 2015 while electricity was down 4.7 percent and natural gas was up 7.1 percent.
Health care expenses increased 1.8 percent, year over year.
Nationally, the consumer price index rose 1.1 percent in April compared with a year ago.
The higher costs of housing (up 3.2 percent, year over year) and transportation (up 3.3 percent) were partially offset by a steep drop in fuel oil prices (down 27.5 percent.)
Chris G. Christopher Jr., an economist with forecasting firm IHS Global Insight, said, “the CPI no longer has falling gasoline prices to cover up rising prices for other items . . . Not the best news for households living paycheck to paycheck.”