WASHINGTON - The cost of producing goods and services in the United States rose slightly in January, with higher food prices partly offset by cheaper gas. Overall, inflation remains mild.
The Labor Department says the producer
price index, which tracks prices before they reach consumers, rose 0.2 percent
in January. That followed a 0.1 percent increase in December and a flat reading
in November. In the past year, producer prices have risen just 1.2 percent,
below the Federal Reserve's preferred target rate.
Excluding the cost of food, energy and
markups by wholesalers and retailers, so-called core prices ticked up just 0.1
January's producer prices are the
first to be compiled since the government revamped its index. Producer prices
now include services and construction. Before last month, the index tracked