Consumer Price Index: May Headline at 8.58%
The Bureau of Labor Statistics released the May Consumer Price Index data this morning. The year-over-year non-seasonally adjusted Headline CPI came in at 8.58%, up from 8.26% the previous month. Year-over-year Core CPI (ex Food and Energy) came in at 6.02%, down from 6.16% the previous month.
Here is the introduction from the BLS summary, which leads with the seasonally adjusted monthly data:
The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) increased 1.0 percent in May on a seasonally adjusted basis after rising 0.3 percent in April, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Over the last 12 months, the all items index increased 8.6 percent before seasonal adjustment.
The increase was broad-based, with the indexes for shelter, gasoline, and food being the largest contributors. After declining in April, the energy index rose 3.9 percent over the month with the gasoline index rising 4.1 percent and the other major component indexes also increasing. The food index rose 1.2 percent in May as the food at home index increased 1.4 percent.
The index for all items less food and energy rose 0.6 percent in May, the same increase as in April. While almost all major components increased over the month, the largest contributors were the indexes for shelter, airline fares, used cars and trucks, and new vehicles. The indexes for medical care, household furnishings and operations, recreation, and apparel also increased in May.
The all items index increased 8.6 percent for the 12 months ending May, the largest 12-month increase since the period ending December 1981. The all items less food and energy index rose 6.0 percent over the last 12 months. The energy index rose 34.6 percent over the last year, the largest 12-month increase since the period ending September 2005. The food index increased 10.1 percent for the 12-months ending May, the first increase of 10 percent or more since the period ending March 1981. Read more
Investing.com was looking for a 0.7% MoM change in seasonally adjusted Headline CPI and a 0.5% in Core CPI. Year-over-year forecasts were 8.13% for Headline and 5.9% for Core.
The first chart is an overlay of Headline CPI and Core CPI (the latter excludes Food and Energy) since the turn of the century. The highlighted two percent level is the Federal Reserve's Core inflation target for the CPI's cousin index, the BEA's Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE) price index.
The next chart shows both series since 1957, the year the government first began tracking Core Inflation.
In the wake of the Great Recession, two percent has been the Fed's target for core inflation. However, at their December 2012 FOMC meeting, the inflation ceiling was raised to 2.5% while their accommodative measures (low Fed Funds Rate and quantitative easing) were in place. They have since reverted to the two percent target in their various FOMC documents.
Federal Reserve policy, which in recent history has focused on core inflation measured by the core PCE Price Index, will see that the more familiar core CPI is now well above the PCE target range of 2 percent.
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