WASHINGTON - U.S. consumer prices were unchanged in January, as the rising costs of housing and health care were largely offset by cheaper oil.
But the annual pace of inflation showed signs of acceleration. The Labor Department says that prices have risen 1.4 percent over the past 12 months, compared to a year ago when annual inflation was close to zero.
Falling energy costs have mainly dampened inflationary pressures. Gasoline prices tumbled 4.8 percent between January and December.
Outside of oil, prices are beginning to climb.
Core inflation, which excludes volatile energy and food costs, rose 0.3 percent in January. Over the past 12 months, core inflation has climbed 2.2 percent.
Housing expenses, which account for a third of the consumer price index, have risen 3.2 percent from a year ago.