Consumer price increases slowed in August

Excluding food and energy items. Data: Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis; Chart: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

The consumer price index, which measures how much consumers pay for a variety of items, rose at a slower pace in August than economists expected. The cost of apparel and health care services declined, while the price of gasoline increased.

Why it matters: The consumer price index is a key gauge of inflation, which Federal Reserve officials take into account when deciding whether or not to raise interest rates. According to Lee Ferridge, an analyst at State Street, if the lack of inflation continues the Fed may not raise rates as frequently as some have anticipated.