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U.S. Inflation Hits 6-Year High Thanks to Rise in Energy Index

U.S. inflation rose at the fastest rate in more than six years, diminishing consumer wage gains and continuing an upward trend since the beginning of 2018.

The consumer price index rose 0.2% in May after also rising 0.2% in April, according to a report published on Tuesday by the Department of Labor. Throughout the past year, the nation’s CPI rose 2.8% prior to seasonal adjustment, the largest yearly gain since February 2012.

The Labor Department reported that gasoline and shelter were the largest contributors to the rising CPI, just as they were in April. The shelter index rose by 0.3% due to a rise in rental prices, while the gasoline index rose by 1.7% — enough to offset declines in other energy component indexes. Over the past year, the energy index rose 11.7%.

Following a 0.3% increase in April, the U.S. 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.

The CPI tracks the spending patterns of all urban consumers, urban wage earners, and clerical workers, measuring the difference in prices paid by consumers for goods and services. Prices are collected each month in 75 urban areas throughout the country, from approximately 5,000 housing units and 22,000 retail stores.