A measure of inflation closely watched by the Federal Reserve continued to cool on an annual basis in January, the latest sign that price increases are coming back under control even as the economy continues to chug along.

The Personal Consumption Expenditures price index climbed 2.4 percent last month compared with a year earlier. That was in line with what economists had forecast and down from the 2.6 percent December reading.

After stripping out food and fuel costs, which can move around from month to month, a “core” price index climbed 2.8 percent from January 2023. That followed a 2.9 percent December reading.

Still, the closely watched core measure climbed more quickly on a monthly basis: It picked up by 0.4 percent, quicker than a 0.1 percent December pace. That was the fastest pace of increase since January 2023, and it came as service prices continued to climb at a rapid clip.

Taken as a whole, the data provide further evidence that while inflation continues to come down, the path back to normal could remain at least somewhat bumpy.

Fed officials aim for 2 percent price increases, so today’s inflation rate remains elevated. Still, it is much lower than this measure’s roughly 7 percent peak in 2022. In their December economic projections, central bankers predicted that inflation would cool to 2.4 percent by the end of the year.

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