The Department of Labor reported this morning that the Consumer Price Index rose by 0.3 percent in December, slower than the 0.8 percent during November.

Consumer prices rose by 4.1 percent during 2007, the biggest jump in 17 years, and up almost 60 percent from a 2.5 percent increase in 2006.

The increase was largely fueled by higher costs for food and energy.

The Commerce Department reported that retail sales dropped by 0.4 percent during December, finishing off the worst year since 2002.