The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) increased 0.4% in May on a seasonally adjusted basis, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Over the last 12 months, official inflation was unchanged — 0.0%.
The gasoline index increased sharply in May, rising 10.4% and accounting for most of overall increase. But gasoline prices are still down 25% over the last 12 months. Food prices were unchanged in May, the BLS said, and apparel prices were down 0.5%.
Core inflation – stripping out food and energy – was up 0.1% in May and 1.7% over the last 12 months. This indicates inflation has not yet reached a level (above 2.0%) that would prompt the Federal Reserve to begin raising short-term interest rates.
Holders of TIPS and I Bonds are also interested in non-seasonally adjusted inflation, which is used to determine principal adjustments on TIPS and future interest rates for I Bonds. May’s inflation index was set at 237.805, up 0.51% from April, but essentially unchanged from where it stood in May 2014 — 237.900.
I have updated my Tracking Inflation and I Bonds page to reflect these new numbers. It’s important to note that while I Bonds currently have a negative inflation-adjusted rate through Oct. 31 (-1.60% annualized) that number looks likely to rise into the positive when the new rate sets Nov. 1. Inflation is up 0.71% in the last two months.