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Economy gets 2 shots of optimism

Published September 16, 2006

WASHINGTON - Inflation slowed last month as Americans finally got a break at the gas pump, lifting consumers' spirits and easing fears the country could stumble into recession.

The Labor Department reported Friday that consumer prices rose just 0.2 percent in August, half the gain in July. With oil prices falling in September, economists predicted more good news ahead on inflation.

That should bolster consumer spending and make a recession much less likely.

The recent drop in gasoline - which had surged above $3 per gallon and is down to $2.62 nationwide - is helping to lift consumer confidence.

The RBC Cash Index, from the Ipsos polling firm, showed confidence soared to a seven-month high of 93.7 in early September after a sharp fall in August. A separate survey by the University of Michigan also showed confidence rising.

[Last modified September 15, 2006, 22:46:06]

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