Consumer prices rose by the most since March

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WASHINGTON (AP) ? Consumers paid more for gas, food and clothes last month, pushing prices up by the most since the spring.

The Labor Department says the Consumer Price Index rose 0.5 percent in July, following a drop of 0.2 percent in June. Gas prices accounted for much of the swing. They increased by a seasonally adjusted 4.7 percent after dropping sharply in June.

The core index, which excludes volatile food and energy, rose 0.2 percent. That’s below the 0.3 percent rise in each of the previous two months.

Prices are 3.6 percent higher than they were a year ago, matching the 12-month increase in May and June. Core prices are 1.8 percent higher than they were a year earlier, the largest increase in two years.