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Originally published September 17, 2013 at 11:27 AM | Page modified September 18, 2013 at 6:32 AM

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Seattle-area inflation is lower than national rate

Consumer prices here were unchanged during the past two months, as lower food and apparel costs offset higher shelter and energy costs.

Seattle Times business reporter

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Seattle-area inflation remained tame in July and August, with consumer prices up only 1.1 percent over the past year, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Tuesday.

Consumer prices here were unchanged during the past two months, despite a significant rise in housing rents.

Nationwide, overall prices climbed 1.5 percent over the past year and just 0.1 percent from July to August.

Unlike the national inflation rate, which is tracked monthly, prices for metro areas such as Seattle are measured every other month. They are not adjusted for seasonal variations.

Local food and gasoline prices inched down 0.1 percent for the two months ending in August, while energy prices as a whole increased 0.4 percent, driven by a 1.4 percent surge in electricity costs.

Excluding food and energy costs, so-called core prices dipped 0.1 percent from June to August. Housing rents rose 1.1 percent, but apparel and household furnishing costs fell 0.7 percent. On a year-over-year basis, rental rates increased 3.2 percent.

Two months ago, overall prices in the Seattle area increased 1.4 percent over the past year and 0.8 percent from April to June, driven by higher gasoline and medical-care costs.

Seattle isn’t the only West Coast metro area where housing rents are on the rise. In San Francisco, rents increased 0.6 percent during the past two months and 3.7 percent over the past year.

Amy Martinez: 206-464-2923 or amartinez@seattletimes.com. On Twitter: @amyemartinez

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