Haver Analytics
Haver Analytics
| Jun 12 2024

U.S. CPI Is Unchanged in May; Core Price Gain Moderates

  • Core goods prices hold steady and decline y/y.
  • Service price gain halves; fairly stable y/y.
  • Energy prices decline while food prices edge higher.

The Consumer Price Index was unchanged during May following a 0.3% April rise and two consecutive 0.4% increases. A 0.1% rise had been expected in the Action Economics Forecast Survey. The 3.3% y/y gain compared to April’s 3.4% y/y increase but was below the peak 9.1% y/y increase in June of 2022. The three-month increase of 2.8% (AR) was below the 4.6% April high. Prices excluding food & energy increased 0.2% last month after rising 0.3% in April and 0.4% in each of the prior three months. Core consumer prices rose 3.4% y/y compared to 3.9% during all of last year.

The CPI less food, energy and shelter, another measure of core pricing power, held steady in May after nine consecutive moderate increases. The 1.9% y/y rise remained below the 7.6% y/y peak in February 2022 and compared to a low of 1.2% y/y in February 2021.

Service costs less energy increased 0.2% in May (5.3% y/y) following a 0.4% April gain and two straight 0.5% increases. Transportation services costs declined 0.5% (+10.5% y/y) following a 0.9% April jump. The cost of shelter rose 0.4% (5.4% y/y) for the fourth straight month as owners’ equivalent rent of primary residences increased 0.4% (5.6% y/y), also for the fourth consecutive month. Rents of primary residences increased a steady 0.4% (5.3% y/y) while the cost of lodging away from home eased 0.1% (-1.4% y/y) after a 0.2% decline. Education & communication prices rose 0.3% (2.0% y/y) following two straight 0.2% increases. Recreation services prices fell 0.2% (3.9% y/y) following a 0.3% rise and medical care service costs rose 0.3% (3.1% y/y) after a 0.4% increase.

During May, the CPI for goods less food & energy was unchanged (-1.7% y/y) after two months of modest decline. Education & communication goods costs declined 1.6% (-7.4% y/y) following a 0.1% April uptick. Prices for recreation products eased 0.1% (-2.3% y/y) after holding steady. Home furnishings prices were unchanged (-2.5% y/y) after weakening 0.4%, while appliance costs rose 0.6% (-4.9% y/y) after three straight months of decline. Apparel prices eased 0.3% (+0.8% y/y) after strengthening 1.2% in April. New vehicle prices eased 0.5% (-0.8% y/y) after three straight months of decline while used car & truck prices rose 0.6% (-9.3% y/y) after falling 1.4% in April.

Energy prices declined 2.0% (+3.7% y/y) in May after two straight months of 1.1% increase. Gasoline prices fell 3.6% (2.2% y/y) after a 2.8% rise. Amongst other energy products, fuel oil prices fell 0.4% (+3.6 y/y) after rising 0.9% in April. Electricity prices held steady (+5.9% y/y) after easing 0.1%, while natural gas prices declined 0.8% (+0.2% y/y) after falling 2.9% in April.

Food prices edged up 0.1% (2.1% y/y) last month after holding steady in April. Egg prices weakened 0.4% (+3.0% y/y) after falling 7.3%. Meat, poultry & fish prices rose 0.3% (2.3% y/y) after easing 0.1% while cereal & bakery product prices rose 0.2% (0.2% y/y) after rising 0.6% in April. Fruit & vegetable prices held steady (+0.6% y/y) after falling 0.8%, while dairy prices fell 0.5% (-1.0% y/y) after a 0.1% uptick. Nonalcoholic beverage prices fell 0.3% (+1.3% y/y) about as they did in April.

The Consumer Price figures can be found in Haver's USECON database. The expectations figure is contained in the AS1REPNA database.

  • Prior to joining Haver Analytics in 2000, Mr. Moeller worked as the Economist at Chancellor Capital Management from 1985 to 1999. There, he developed comprehensive economic forecasts and interpreted economic data for equity and fixed income portfolio managers. Also at Chancellor, Mr. Moeller worked as an equity analyst and was responsible for researching and rating companies in the economically sensitive automobile and housing industries for investment in Chancellor’s equity portfolio.   Prior to joining Chancellor, Mr. Moeller was an Economist at Citibank from 1979 to 1984.   He also analyzed pricing behavior in the metals industry for the Council on Wage and Price Stability in Washington, D.C.   In 1999, Mr. Moeller received the award for most accurate forecast from the Forecasters' Club of New York. From 1990 to 1992 he was President of the New York Association for Business Economists.   Mr. Moeller earned an M.B.A. in Finance from Fordham University, where he graduated in 1987. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from George Washington University.

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