Stock photo: Filling gas tank. Credit: Morakot/Adobe Stock

Falling prices for gas, airline tickets, and clothes helped give Americans a slight break from the pain of high inflation last month, though overall price increases slowed only modestly from a four-decade high that was reached in June.

Consumer prices jumped 8.5 percent in July compared with a year earlier, the government said Wednesday, down from a 9.1 percent year-over-year increase in June. On a monthly basis, prices were unchanged from June to July, the smallest such rise in more than two years.

Much of the relief last month was felt by travelers: Hotel room costs fell 2.7 percent from June to July, airfares fell nearly 8 percent, and rental car prices dropped a whopping 9.5 percent. Those price declines followed steep increases in the previous year, after Covid-19 cases eased and travel rebounded. Airfares are still nearly 30 percent higher than they were a year ago.

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