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Inflation Slows in July – But It’s Still High

Year-to-year, U.S. prices rose 8.5% in July compared to 9.1% in June. Most of that savings – though not all – resulted from falling gas prices.

WASHINGTON (AP) – Falling gas prices gave Americans a slight break from the pain of high inflation last month, though the surge in overall prices slowed only modestly from the four-decade high it reached in June.

Consumer prices jumped 8.5% in July compared with a year earlier, the government said Wednesday, down from a 9.1% year-over-year jump in June. On a monthly basis, prices were unchanged from June to July, the smallest such rise more than two years.

Still, prices are spiking across a wide range of goods and services, leaving most Americans worse off. Average paychecks are rising faster than they have in decades – but not fast enough to keep up with accelerating costs for such items as food, rent, autos and medical services.

President Joe Biden has pointed to declining gas prices as a sign that his policies – including large releases of oil from the nation’s strategic reserve – are helping lessen the higher costs that have strained Americans’ finances, particularly for lower-income Americans and Black and Hispanic households.

Yet Republicans are stressing the persistence of high inflation as a top issue in the midterm congressional elections, with polls showing that elevated prices have driven Biden’s approval ratings down sharply.

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