U.S. consumer prices posted their smallest increase in more than 50 years in 2008.

A government report Friday said the sagging economy is keeping inflation in check, and slashing demand for energy.

Serious U.S. economic problems are at the top of President-elect Barack Obama's agenda as he tries to rally public support for a plan to stimulate the economy with government spending and tax cuts.  As part of that effort Friday, he will visit a company in the midwest that makes parts for wind turbines.

Mr. Obama has said he hopes to create half a million jobs with investments in clean energy projects.

Thursday, Mr. Obama praised the House of Representatives for unveiling an $825 billion economic stimulus plan aimed at creating new jobs and tax benefits.

He said the plan, which would create more than three million jobs, is a significant down-payment on such challenges as funding for education, health care, and energy.

That new plan is in addition to the previously-passed $700 billion effort to bail out faltering U.S. banks.  The U.S. Senate Thursday approved Mr. Obama's request to make the last half of that money available. 

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP, Bloomberg and Reuters.