WASHINGTON — Apartment rents are up. So are prices for restaurant meals, haircuts, gym memberships and a cup of coffee.

For American consumers who have become used to flat or even falling prices for several years, an unfamiliar sight has emerged in many corners of the economy: Inflation is ticking up.

The price increases remain modest. And in many cases, they’re canceled out by price declines for other items that are keeping overall inflation historically low.

Yet the price increases for a range of consumer items are the largest since the Great Recession ended six years ago. They actually reflect a healthier economy. Many businesses have finally grown confident enough to pass their own higher costs on to consumers without fear of losing customers.

Inflation as measured by the consumer price index has barely risen in the past 12 months, mostly because cheaper gas has held down the index.

But prices are rising. If you exclude food and energy, which tend to fluctuate sharply, “core” inflation has risen 2.3 percent at an annual rate in the past three months.

The biggest driver of inflation this year has been residential rents. They climbed 3.5 percent in June from a year earlier, according to government data, the fifth straight month with an annual gain of that size. That is the fastest yearly pace in six years.

Americans are overwhelmingly choosing to rent rather than buy when they first form their own households, government data show. That has driven apartment vacancy rates to the lowest level in 25 years and pushed up rents.

The prices of restaurant meals picked up 3 percent in June from 12 months earlier, partially driven by higher food costs. Coffee prices jumped 6.1 percent in January from 12 months earlier, the most in nearly three years.

Haircut prices jumped 1.6 percent in June, the biggest monthly jump in the 62 years that the government has tracked the data.