) -- Consumer prices made a surprising and subtle move lower last month led largely by declining energy costs in yet another sign that inflation was kept in check, the government reported Wednesday.

The Labor Department said its consumer price index, which tracks the average change in prices on various goods that households pay, slid a seasonally adjusted 0.1% in April. According to consensus estimates provided by


, CPI was expected to rise by 0.1%.

The measure's gauge of energy prices slumped 1.4%, while food costs edged up 0.2%. But after removing those energy and food prices, which could swing wildly, the so-called "core" CPI measure was left unchanged for the month.

Since last year, consumer prices have increased a non-seasonally adjusted 2.2%.

In a separate measure of inflation released Tuesday, the government said prices at the

wholesale level also fell 0.1%,

while its core gauge registered a 0.2% gain.

--Written by Sung Moss in New York