Prices Jump 0.5 Percent in Sept.
WASHINGTON (AP) _ Consumer prices jumped 0.5 percent in September, the biggest advance since June, as energy prices rebounded sharply, the Labor Department said Wednesday.
The increase in the Consumer Price Index, the government’s most closely watched inflation gauge, followed a 0.1 percent decline in August, which had been the first drop in 14 years.
In both August and September, the CPI was dominated by energy movements. After falling by 2.9 percent in August, energy prices shot up 3.8 percent in September, the biggest advance since a 5.6 percent surge in June.
The big rise in energy, which consumers have felt in sharply rising gasoline prices and home heating oil costs, prompted President Clinton last month to order the release of oil from the government’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve.
While so far, the steep increases have been mainly contained in the energy sector, economists are worried about a spillover effect that could send overall inflation higher, setting off alarm bells at the Federal Reserve.