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Economic Report: Inflation perks up in February, CPI shows, but not enough to stop downward trend in prices

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Rising gasoline prices contributed to higher inflation in February.

The numbers: Americans paid more for rent, food, gas and clothes in February, triggering the biggest increase in inflation in four months. But the cost of living more generally is still rising very slowly.

The consumer price index climbed 0.2% in February following three straight months of no change, the government said Tuesday. That matched the forecast of economists polled by MarketWatch.

The increase in the cost of living over the past year, however, slowed again to 1.5% from 1.6%. The rate of inflation has throttled back sharply since hitting almost 3% last summer.

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