U.S. consumer prices rose slightly in December even as households paid more for health care, and monthly underlying inflation slowed, supporting the Federal Reserve’s desire to keep interest rates unchanged at least through this year.
The weak inflation report from the Labor Department on Tuesday came on the heels of data last week showing a moderation in job growth in December. Economists said these developments were flagging a sharp slowdown in domestic demand. Though the economy appears to have maintained a steady pace of growth in the fourth quarter, it was likely supported by falling imports.
“This is giving rise to the fear that maybe economic demand is showing early signs of hitting…