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Here’s Where Inflation Is Taking The Biggest Bite Out Of Americans’ Wallets

REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

Mary Rooke Staff Writer
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The Consumer Price Index (CPI) reached its highest rate in over 40 years in May, adding more strain on U.S. household budgets.

American families watched as consumer prices for necessities like groceries, oil and gas, and transportation rose 8.6% in the last year, according to the Friday U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) report.

The CPI, which measures the change in price for products paid for by U.S. consumers, increased a startling 1% in May after only rising 0.3% in April, the BLS report shows.

The skyrocketing rates affect all areas of American life, but shelter, gasoline, and food saw the highest price increases. (RELATED: White House Doubles Down On ‘Green’ Transition As Inflation Hits 40-Year High)

U.S. costs for shelter rose 0.6% in May, marking the largest monthly increase since March 2004, with rent and the owner’s equivalent index contributing to the rise. Statistics show that the price to stay in lodging away from home also rose in May by 0.9%.

Energy prices increased 3.9% in May alone and 34.6% over the past year. BLS reported that the cost of gas rose 4.1% in May and is up 48.7% over the past 12 months.

“The index for fuel oil more than doubled [in the last 12-months], rising 106.7 percent; this represents the largest increase in the history of the series, which dates to 1935,” the BLS report stated. “The index for electricity rose 12.0 percent, the largest 12-month increase since the period ending August 2006., The index for natural gas increased 30.2 percent over the last 12 months, the largest such increase since the period ending July 2008.”

Americans are experiencing crippling price increases in food purchases for eating inside, and away from home, BLS reported.

Records show food prices rose 1.2% in May, an increase from the .9% rise in April. The food at home index climbed for the fifth consecutive month, increasing 1.4% in May. The price for American families to eat at home has risen 11.9% over the past 12 months, making it the largest 12-month increase since April 1979, reported BLS.

“All six major grocery store food group indexes increased over the [last 12-months], with five of the six rising more than 10 percent. The index for meats, poultry, fish, and eggs increased the most, rising 14.2 percent, with the index for eggs increasing 32.2 percent,” the BLS report stated.

Fruits and vegetables rose 8.2%, with other food at home rising 12.6%.

Transportation costs, like new and used cars, and airline fares, also rose. The price of new vehicles rose 1% in May and 12.6% over the past 12-month. The used car index increased 1.8% in May and 16.1% over the past year. Airline fares rose 12.6% in May alone, after increasing 18.6% in April, statistics show.