Inflation Ticks Down — But Remains Well Above Fed’s Target

(Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images) (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

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Jason Cohen Contributor
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Inflation ticked down again in May, although it is still twice as high as the Federal Reserve’s target as prices remain elevated, according to the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) report released on Tuesday.

The Consumer Price Index (CPI), a broad measure of the prices of everyday goods like energy and food, increased 4.0% on an annual basis in May compared to 4.9% in April, according to the BLS. Core CPI — which excludes energy and food — remained elevated, rising 5.3% year-over-year in May, compared to 5.5% in April.

Inflation grew 0.1% on a monthly basis in May, compared to 0.4% in April, according to the BLS. The rise was driven primarily by an increase in shelter costs, which jumped 0.6% in May compared to 0.4% in April, according to the BLS.  (RELATED: Inflation Refuses To Go Away As Prices Stay High)

The energy index decreased 11.7% over the 12 months ending in May while the food index increased 6.7% for the last year.

The index for used cars and trucks increased 4.4% and the index for motor vehicle insurance rose 2%, according to the BLS. The indices for apparel, personal care and education also increased.

The Federal Reserve has hiked interest rates 10 consecutive times since March 2022 in an effort to lower inflation to its goal of 2%. The CPI report precedes a Federal Open Market Committee meeting where the central bank will decide whether to pause or increase rates on Wednesday.

The CPI report follows an unexpectedly high jobless claims report by the Department of Labor (DOL) on Thursday. The number of Americans who filed new unemployment claims increased more than expected to 261,000 in the week ending June 3, the Department of Labor (DOL) reported. It was the highest number since October 2021, when it was 264,000.

It also follows a jobs report revealing that unemployment increased from 3.4% to 3.7% in May, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Inflation hit 9.1% in June 2022, its highest point since 1982, according to the BLS.

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