US consumer prices rose modest 0.2 percent in February

FILE- In this Jan. 22, 2018, file photo, customer Paul Fan shops at an Amazon Go store in Seattle. On Tuesday, March 18, 2018, the Labor Department re

FILE- In this Jan. 22, 2018, file photo, customer Paul Fan shops at an Amazon Go store in Seattle. On Tuesday, March 18, 2018, the Labor Department re

WASHINGTON (AP) — Consumer prices increased at a modest pace in February, underscoring that inflation pressures appear to be muted for now.

The Labor Department says the consumer price index increased 0.2 percent last month, after a sharp 0.5 percent gain in January. Core prices — which exclude the volatile food and energy categories — also climbed 0.2 percent. Overall consumer prices rose 2.2 percent in February from a year earlier, while core prices rose 1.8 percent from a year ago for the third straight month.

Inflation fears have intensified this year after a report last month suggested wages were rising more quickly, which can push up prices. Subsequent data have shown that hourly pay gains remain moderate. Sluggish pay increases have helped keep Inflation dormant for most of the past decade.