Consumer confidence plummets in early July

A drop in consumers prices — the third straight monthly decline — could help boost spending levels. 

The consumer price index, an inflation gauge, dipped 0.1 percent in June, according to a separate Labor Department report Friday. Energy prices dropped as well as food, airline fares, computers and personal care products.

Core prices, which exclude energy and food, rose 0.2 percent last month. Those prices have increased only 0.9 percent during the past year, below the Federal Reserve’s inflation target to keep interest rates near zero “for an extended period.” 

Although deflation has been mentioned by some economists, the Fed has predicted that inflation will hold steady or rise slightly by year’s end.