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US Consumer Prices Rise Just 0.2 Pct. In September

Prices for clothing and hotels fell, while airline fares, new car prices, and rents rose. Fruit and vegetable prices dropped, offsetting increases in meat, breads and dairy products.

September's report also includes data used by the Social Security Administration to calculate cost-of-living adjustments for 58 million Social Security beneficiaries. Mild inflation means benefits will increase 1.5 percent next year, among the smallest increases since the automatic adjustments began in 1975.

The consumer price figures were originally scheduled to be released Oct. 16. But they were delayed by the 16-day partial government shutdown.

The shutdown has likely slowed growth in an already weak economy. Economists expect economic growth at an annual rate of between 1.5 percent and 2 percent from July through September. That would be down from a 2.5 percent annual rate in the April-June quarter.

And economists expect little pickup in the October-December quarter. The shutdown likely cut a quarter- to a half-percentage point from growth in the final three months of the year.

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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