Yet the media is touting the headline number because it was tame. Sept. 19 (Bloomberg) -- Consumer prices in the U.S. unexpectedly fell in August for the first time this year, as Americans paid less for gasoline and housing costs were unchanged. The decrease followed a 0.1 percent advance in July, the Labor Department said today in Washington. Core prices, which exclude food and energy, climbed 0.2 percent as forecast and were up 2.1 percent from a year earlier. Slowing growth and weaker consumer spending, driven by the deepest housing recession in 16 years, are keeping companies from increasing prices. Today's figures may ease concern at the Federal Reserve, which yesterday cut its key rate for the first time in four years, that inflation remains a risk to the economy.