May consumer prices accelerated at the fastest pace in nearly 13 years as inflationary pressures continued to mount in the US economy, the Labor Department reported Thursday.
The consumer price index, which is a basket of food, energy, groceries, housing costs and sales across a range of goods, rose 5% year over year. Economists polled by Dow Jones had expected an increase of 4.7%.
The figure represented the largest CPI gain since rising 5.3% in August 2008, just before the worst financial crisis plunged the US into the worst recession since the Great Depression.
A separate measure that rules out volatile food and energy prices rose 3.8% from the Dow Jones estimate of 3.5% for so-called core inflation. That was the fastest pace since May 1992.
Another report released Thursday showed that unemployment claims for the week ended June 5 were 376,000. The estimate was 370,000. The total was still the lowest in the pandemic-era.
However, investors continue to focus heavily on inflation, which hasn’t been a major threat to the US economy since the early 1980s.
On a monthly basis, the headline CPI rose 0.8% while the core CPI rose 0.7%. The estimate was 0.5% for both readings.
Although the inflation data is well above anything seen since the financial crisis, the Federal Reserve has largely rejected the numbers. Central bank officials believe the current surge is due to temporary factors that will wear off as the year progresses.
As a result, market participants generally do not expect the Fed to react to the latest figures when the monetary policy open market committee meets next week.
Markets largely shook off Thursday’s inflation report, with stock market futures showing a gain at the opening price, although government bond yields rose higher. The ten-year benchmark government bond was last traded at 1.52%.
Used car and truck prices continued to rise, increasing 7.3% month on month and 29.7% over the last 12 months. However, the energy index remained nearly unchanged for the month despite the huge spike in gasoline prices this year, while the food index repeated its 0.4% rise in April.
The gasoline index is up 56.2% over the past year, part of an overall 28.5% increase in energy over the reporting period. Food prices remained comparatively restrained with a plus of 2.2% for the 12-month period.
This is the latest news. Please check back here for updates.
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