Friday, June 12, 2020

Inside the Inflation Numbers

The Bureau of Labor Statistics says the consumer price index fell 0.1 percent in May, driven by deep discounting on energy, car insurance, clothing and public-transportation prices. The so-called core rate of inflation, which strips out volatile food and energy prices, also fell 0.1 percent

But those volatile categories have been rising. Prices for food consumed at home rose 1.0 percent after going up 2.6 percent in April. The cost of beef shot up a record 10.8 percent in May, reflecting shortages as a result of COVID-19 infections at meat processing plants.

Prices were held down by a 3.5 percent drop in the cost of gasoline, which followed a 20.6 percent drop in April. On other hand, while shelter prices are not rising as fast as they were at the beginning of the year, they are still increasing, up 2.6 percent in the past year.

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