Producer price index February 2019

William DeShazer | Reuters

Line workers begin installing the interior and electronics on the flex line at Nissan Motor Co’s automobile manufacturing plant in Smyrna, Tennessee, August 23, 2018.

U.S. wholesale prices barely increased last month after falling for three straight months, a sign there is little inflation pressure in the economy.

The Labor Department says the producer price index — which measures price changes before they reach the consumer — rose 0.1 percent in February. It slipped 0.1 percent in January. Excluding volatile food and energy costs, core producer prices also rose 0.1 percent. Wholesale prices increased 1.9 percent from a year earlier, and core prices rose 2.5 percent.

Despite an unemployment rate near a five-decade low and faster wage growth, inflation is tame. The Consumer Price Index, released Tuesday, increased just 1.5 percent in February from a year ago. Mild inflation is a major reason the Federal Reserve has paused its interest rate hikes.

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