US Producer Prices Rise in April

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Prices charged by U.S. manufacturers, farmers and other producers rose for the first time since January, lifted by higher costs for gas, steel and medicines.

The Labor Department says the producer price index, which measures price changes before they reach the consumer, increased 0.2 percent in April. That followed small declines in February and March. Producer prices were unchanged from a year ago.

Excluding the volatile food and energy categories, producer prices ticked up 0.1 percent last month and 0.9 percent from a year ago.

The figures suggest that overall inflation remains tame. Sluggish economic growth, modest wage increases, and sharp competition among retailers have kept inflation low since the Great Recession ended in 2009.

Wholesale gas prices jumped 5.5 percent in April, while food costs slipped 0.3 percent.

(KA)