For the second straight month, U.S. consumer prices advanced sharply in May and the inflation rate over the past 12 months surged.
A report released Tuesday, June 17, 2014 by the U.S. Labor Department shows that the increases happened not only in food and energy but also across most other items surveyed by the bureau.
The Consumer Price Index, or CPI, jumped 0.4% in May for the biggest increase since February 2013 and after rising 0.3% in April.
Food prices remain a bigger burden for U.S. consumers with an increase in May of 0.5% after three consecutive months of 0.4% gains. Food prices started the year with a January increase of 0.1% and were flat in December. They are 2.5% higher than a year ago.
Energy prices also raced faster on the month, up 0.9% after rising 0.3% in April and following declines of 0.1% in March and 0.5% in February. They are 3.3% higher than a year ago.
Stripping food and energy prices, the so-called core inflation rate rose 0.3% in May — the biggest gain since August 2011, and after two consecutive monthly gains of 0.2% and following three straight months of 0.1% increases.
12-Month Change in Consumer Prices
In the May 2013 to May 2014 period, the U.S. inflation rate rose 2.1% after rising 2.0% in the 12 months ended April. The inflation rate increase was the biggest since 2.2% was hit in October 2012.
Finally, core consumer prices in the past 12 months jumped 2.0% compared to 1.8% previously. The level is right at the Federal Reserve target inflation rate.
This table has major consumer prices by category and their month-over-month changes. The final column offers year-over year changes. The prices for these items are gathered and published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) each month.
US Inflation: November 2013 – May 2014 Consumer Prices (%)
|Nov 2013||Dec 2013||Jan 2014||Feb 2014||Mar 2014||Apr 2014||May 2014||12 Month|
|Food at home||.0||.0||0.1||0.5||0.5||0.4||0.7||2.7|
|Food away from home||0.3||0.1||0.1||0.3||0.3||0.3||0.2||2.2|
|Gasoline (all types)||-0.8||2.6||-1.0||-1.7||-1.7||2.3||0.7||2.3|
|Utility (piped) gas service||-1.5||-1.0||3.6||3.6||7.5||0.3||-1.7||7.3|
|All items less food, energy||0.2||0.1||0.1||0.1||0.2||0.2||0.3||2.0|
|Commodities less food, energy||.0||.0||-0.1||-0.1||.0||0.1||0.1||-0.2|
|Used cars and trucks||0.3||.0||-0.5||-0.1||0.4||0.5||-0.1||0.2|
|Services less energy||0.3||0.1||0.2||0.2||0.3||0.3||0.3||2.7|
The following paragraphs offer the summary report of the Consumer Price Index by the Labor Department’s BLS as published on Tuesday, June 17, 2014.
Summary of Consumer Prices for May 2014
The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) increased 0.4% in May on a seasonally adjusted basis, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Over the last 12 months, the all items index increased 2.1% before seasonal adjustment.
The seasonally adjusted increase in the all items index, which was the largest since February 2013, was broad-based. The indexes for shelter, electricity, food, airline fares, and gasoline were among those that contributed. The food index posted its largest increase since August 2011, with the index for food at home rising 0.7%. The increases in the electricity and gasoline indexes led to a 0.9% rise in the energy index.
The index for all items less food and energy rose 0.3% in May, its largest increase since August 2011. Along with the indexes for shelter and airline fares, the medical care, apparel, and new vehicle indexes all increased in May. The indexes for household furnishings and operations and for used cars and trucks declined.
The all items index increased 2.1% over the last 12 months; this compares to a 2.0% increase for the 12 months ending April, and is the largest 12-month increase since October 2012. The index for all items less food and energy has increased 2.0% over the last 12 months. The food index has advanced 2.5% over the span, its largest 12-month increase since June 2012.
The food index rose 0.5% in May after increasing 0.4% in each of the three previous months. The index for food at home increased 0.7%, its largest increase since July 2011. Five of the six major grocery store food group indexes increased in May.
The index for meats, poultry, fish, and eggs rose 1.4% in May after a 1.5% increase in April, with virtually all its major components increasing. The fruits and vegetables index also continued to rise; its 1.1% increase in May was its fourth consecutive advance, while the index for dairy and related products increased 0.6%, its seventh consecutive increase. The index for nonalcoholic beverages rose 0.4% in May while the index for other food at home increased 0.3%; both indexes had declined in April. The only major grocery store food group index to decline in May was cereals and bakery products, which fell 0.1%.
The food at home index has increased 2.7% over the last year. The index for meats, poultry, fish and eggs has risen 7.7% over the span. The index for nonalcoholic beverages has decreased 0.9%, the only major food group index to decline. The index for food away from home rose 0.2% in May and has risen 2.2% over the past 12 months.
The energy index increased 0.9% in May after rising 0.3% in April. Major energy components were mixed in May. The electricity index rose 2.3% in May after declining 2.6% in April. This is largely due to semiannual climate credits applied to electricity bills in California. The credits were applied to bills in April, causing the decline, while the May increase reflects those bills returning to levels that do not include the credit. The gasoline index rose 0.7% in May. (This was the same as the increase before seasonal adjustment).
In contrast, the index for natural gas declined in May, falling 1.7% after increasing in each of the four previous months. The fuel oil index also declined in May, falling 1.4%. The energy index has risen 3.3% over the past 12 months, the same 12-month change as in April. All major energy component indexes have increased over that time period, including electricity (3.6%) and gasoline (2.3%).
All items less food and energy
The index for all items less food and energy increased 0.3% in May after increasing 0.2% in March and April. The shelter index increased 0.3% in May. The rent index rose 0.3% and the index for owners’ equivalent rent increased 0.2%. The index for lodging away from home rose 2.0% and has increased 4.0% over the last three months. The index for airline fares rose sharply in May; its 5.8% increase was the largest since July 1999.
The medical care index increased 0.3% in May, as the index for prescription drugs rose 0.7%. The apparel index rose 0.3% in May after being unchanged in April. The new vehicles index also increased in May, rising 0.2%, as did the indexes for personal care and for tobacco. In contrast to these increases, the household furnishings and operations index fell 0.2%, while the index for used cars and trucks declined 0.1%. The indexes for recreation and for alcoholic beverages were unchanged in May.
The index for all items less food and energy has risen 2.0% over the last 12 months; this is the highest figure since February 2013. The 12-month increase in the shelter index reached 2.9% in May, its highest level since March 2008. The index for airline fares has increased 4.7% over the span, and the medical care index has risen 2.8%. Indexes that have risen more modestly over the past 12 months include apparel (0.8%), new vehicles (0.5%), and used cars and trucks (0.2%).
Not seasonally adjusted CPI measures
The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) increased 2.1% over the last 12 months to an index level of 237.900 (1982-84=100). For the month, the index rose 0.3% prior to seasonal adjustment.
The Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) increased 2.1% over the last 12 months to an index level of 234.216 (1982-84=100). For the month, the index rose 0.3% prior to seasonal adjustment.
The Chained Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (C-CPI-U) increased 2.0% over the last 12 months. For the month, the index rose 0.3% on a not seasonally adjusted basis. Please note that the indexes for the post-2012 period are subject to revision.
Next CPI Release
The Consumer Price Index for June 2014 is scheduled to be released on Tuesday, July 22, 2014, at 8:30 a.m. (EDT).