Inflation stalled in May, helped by lower gasoline prices

Inflation leveled off in May, slowed by a big drop in gasoline prices - UnSplash +

The Consumer Price Index was unchanged from April

The Labor Department’s Consumer Price Index (CPI) in May was unchanged from April, when the CPI rose 0.3%. Over the last 12 months the inflation rate, as measured by CPI, is 3.3%.

Consumers found some relief at the gas pump last month. Gasoline prices fell 3.5% but are up 2.2% over the last 12 months. Most energy prices declined in May.

Consumers also found some relief in the new car showroom. The index for new vehicles declined 0.5% and prices are down 0.8% year-over-year. Used car prices were slightly higher for the month but are down 9.3% from May 2023.

There continued to be a wide price difference between eating at home or going to restaurants. Grocery prices – food consumed at home – were unchanged in May and were only 1% higher than a year ago.

Changes in food prices

In the "food consumed at home" category, the price of chicken saw the biggest increase, rising 1%, followed by port prices, which rose 0.9%. But the price of rice plunged by 2% and poultry prices were 1.2% lower.

The Index for food consumed away from home – mostly in restaurants – was up 0.4% in May and 0.4% higher over the last 12 months.

The cost of shelter rose 0.4% in May and is 5.4% higher than in May 2023. Rising rent drove the shelter higher as the cost of renting a primary residence was up 0.4% in May and 0.4% over the last 12 months.

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