Prices were up in six of the eight major components in the 12 months to May, with the shelter and transportation indexes contributing the most to the year-over-year rise in the CPI. The clothing and footwear index and the food index declined on a year-over-year basis.
Shelter costs grew 1.9 percent after increasing 2.2 percent in April. This deceleration was led by the electricity index (-5.5 percent ), which declined year over year for a fifth consecutive month. The natural gas index rose less in May than in April. Conversely, homeowners' replacement costs were up more in May (+4.4 percent ) than in April (+3.9 percent ).
The transportation index rose 2.2 percent compared with 4.2 percent in April. Gasoline prices contributed the most to this deceleration, up 6.8 percent after a 15.9 percent gain in April. The purchase of passenger vehicles index edged up 0.2 percent, marking its smallest year-over-year increase since February 2015. At the same time, the price of air transportation rose more.
The recreation, education and reading index rose 2.5 percent following a 3.3 percent increase in April. The travel tours index was up 6.8 percent after a 9.4 percent increase in April. Prices for video equipment fell more while the traveller accommodation index rose 6.3 percent following a 5.7 percent increase in April.
In May, the food index was down 0.1 percent on a year-over-year basis, following a 1.1 percent decline in April. Prices for food purchased from stores decreased 1.2 percent , with the meat and bakery products indexes contributing the most to the drop. The decline in fresh fruit prices (-1.0 percent ) slowed in May, following a 6.2 percent decrease in April. Prices for fresh vegetables rose year over year for the first time since August 2016. Meanwhile, prices for food purchased from restaurants posted a 2.4 percent increase.
On a monthly basis, consumer prices edged up 0.1 percent, below 0.4 percent in April.
The core index rose also went up 0.1 percent on the month and rose 0.9 percent on the year, below 1.1 percent in April. It is the lowest annual core inflation since February of 2011.