Consumer prices climb at their fastest pace in 6 years

Gasoline prices climbed 1.7 per cent in May and jumped 21.8 per cent from a year ago

FOX Business' Trish Regan says comments made by liberal comedian Bill Maher rooting against the US economy is going against the collective success of all citizens. With the wage growth creeping higher, it is widely expected that the United States core inflation will be rising further peaking somewhere around 2.5% in the second half of this year.

The Labor Department said Thursday that the consumer price index climbed 2.8 per cent last month from a year earlier, putting inflation on its fastest annual pace since February 2012. That followed a similar gain in the CPI in April.

The inflation data was published ahead of the start of the Federal Reserve's two-day policy meeting on Tuesday.

The shelter category, which accounts for about one-third of the CPI, rose 0.3 percent from the previous month, continuing a trend of steady increases.

The surge in the annual CPI is largely the result of last year's weak readings, which were driven by big declines in the prices of cell phone service plans and doctor fees, falling from the calculation.

US consumer prices rose 0.2 per cent in May, with surging gasoline costs driving much of the increase. Excluding food and energy, the core gauge was up 0.2 percent from the prior month and 2.2 percent from May 2017, also matching the median estimates of economists. Last month's increase in both the CPI and core CPI was in line with economists' expectations. Commerce Department figures released 31 May showed the Fed's preferred gauge of core prices was up 1.8% in April from a year earlier.

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A separate Labor Department report on Tuesday illustrated how higher prices are pinching wallets: average hourly wages, adjusted for inflation, were unchanged in May from a year earlier, even as nominal pay accelerated to a 2.7 percent annual gain from 2.6 percent in April. Fed officials have indicated they would not be too concerned with inflation overshooting the target.

Seasonally adjusted gasoline prices rose 1.7% in May from the previous month, after a 3% gain in April.

Yet the prices of commodities other than food and energy have fallen 0.3 per cent in the past year.

Following a 0.3% increase in April, the USA food index stayed constant in May, owing in part to a 0.7% decline in meats, poultry, fish, and eggs, as well as a 0.3% fall in fruits and vegetables.

Healthcare costs gained 0.2 percent last month, with prices for prescription drugs jumping 1.4 percent and the cost of hospital visits rising 0.5 percent. Tenants' rent increased 0.3 percent after shooting up 0.4 percent in April. Prices for new motor vehicles rose 0.3 percent after sliding 0.5 percent in April.

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