US inflation slows from a 40-year peak but remains high at 8.5%

FILE - Gas prices are displayed at a Sunoco gas station along the Ohio Turnpike near Youngstown, Ohio, Tuesday, July 12, 2022. Thanks largely to falling gas prices, the government's inflation report for July, to be released Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2022, will probably show that prices jumped 8.7% from a year earlier, according to a survey of economists by data provider FactSet. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) - Falling prices for gas, airline tickets and clothes gave Americans a little bit of relief last month, though overall inflation is still running at close to its highest level in four decades.

Consumer prices jumped 8.5% in July compared with a year earlier, the government said Wednesday, down from a 9.1% year-over-year increase in June. On a monthly basis, prices were unchanged from June to July, the first time that has happened after 25 months of increases.

The report offered welcome news for congressional Democrats and President Joe Biden heading into the midterm elections. Biden highlighted the flat monthly inflation figure.

"I just want to say a number: zero," he told reporters. "Today we received news that our economy had zero percent inflation in the month of July."

Republicans, who have made inflation a top campaign issue, stressed that prices are still painfully high.