The Consumer Price Index increased a seasonally adjusted 0.1% for May, according to a Labor Department report (link opens a PDF) released today.
After falling 0.4% for April on cheaper gasoline, analysts had expected a 0.2% bump for May's report.
Cheaper energy prices were mostly responsible for both March's and April's drops, but May's 0.4% gain seems to have leveled out its overall effect. Gasoline prices remained constant, although natural gas utility prices bumped up 2.4%. The natural gas index notched its fourth consecutive increase. According to the report, over the past 12 months energy indexes are mixed, with the index for fuel oil falling 5.8% and the gasoline index down 4.1%, while the natural gas index has risen 14.2% and the electricity index is up 1.7%.
A 0.1% decrease in food prices for May also tempered April's 0.2% rise. Excluding food and energy prices, May's consumer price index clocked in at up 0.2%, on par with analyst predictions. Major movers included a "shelter index" increase of 0.3% (primarily due to higher rent), as well as a 2.2% increase in airline fares.