A nearly 10% surge in the wholesale price of gasoline sent the Producer Price Index (PPI) for final demand higher in June for the third month in a row.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports the advance of 0.5% followed increases of 0.4% in May and 0.2% in April.
Goods and services on the rise
Prices for goods one step shy of the retail level shot up 0.8% last month, the largest increase since a surge of 1.2% in May 2015. Over three-quarters of June's increase was due to energy cost, which surged 4.1%. Within that category, gasoline was up 9.9%.
Prices for meats, jet fuel, electric power, home heating oil, and cigarettes also moved higher, while the cost of chicken eggs plunged 29.9%. Prices for carbon steel scrap and residential natural gas also fell.
The cost of services rose 0.4% in June, in large part due to a 7.7% hike in prices for services related to securities brokerage and dealing. Also on the rise were prices for automotive fuels and lubricants retailing; machinery, equipment, parts, and supplies wholesaling; traveler accommodation services; airline passenger services; and health, beauty, and optical goods retailing.
In contrast, the cost of apparel, footwear, and accessories retailing, long-distance motor carrying and residential real estate loans (partial) fell.
Prices excluding the volatile foods, energy, and trade services categories rose 0.3% after a dip of 0.1% in May. For the 12 months ended in June, this “core rate” is up 0.9%.
The complete report is available on the BLS website.
It was steady as she goes for initial jobless claims last week, with the Department of Labor (DOL) reporting that first-time applications for state jobless benefits were unchanged in the week ending July 9, at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 254,000.
That makes 71 consecutive weeks of initial claims below 300,000 -- the longest streak since 1973.
The four-week moving average dropped 5,570 from a week earlier to 259,000. This measure is consider a better gauge of the labor market as it lacks the volatility of the weekly headcount.
The full report may be found on the DOL website.