WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. consumer prices rose 0.3% in July, pushed higher by more expensive gas, medical care and housing.

The Labor Department says the consumer price index increased 1.8% compared with a year earlier, up from 1.6% in June. Excluding the volatile food and energy categories, core prices moved up 0.3% in July and 2.2% in the past year.

The figures suggest that inflation is picking up slightly, though it remains modest. The economy is in its 11th year of growth, unemployment is low, and wages are growing modestly. These are trends that typically accelerate price gains. But many companies are reluctant to charge more in the face of online competition.

Most major categories of goods and services saw price gains last month. Housing costs have jumped 3.5% in the past year.

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