Key inflation measure rises at fastest pace since 1992

Consumer prices roared higher in May, rising at their fastest pace in decades.

Inflation rose 5% in the 12-months ending in May, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Thursday. That was a faster pace than economists had predicted and the biggest jump since August 2008.

Stripping out food and energy costs, which tend to be more volatile, inflation stood at 3.8% over that 12- month period. It was the biggest increase in so-called core inflation since June 1992.

In the month of May alone, prices rose 0.6% on a seasonally adjusted basis, slightly less than in April. Core inflation, excluding food and energy prices, stood at 0.7%, down from 0.9% in April.

Once again prices for used cars and trucks rose sharply, increasing 7.3% in May and accounting for a third of of the overall May jump. Over the past 12 months, price tags went up 29.7% without seasonal adjustments. New car prices also rose in May, ticking up 1.6%.

Energy prices — which contributed a lot to prior months’ increases — were flat in May with gasoline prices falling and other energy items rising.

Elsewhere, household furnishings, airline fares and apparel costs rose rapidly. Furnishings logged their largest monthly increase since January 1976.

Americans are also continuing their return to restaurants as the economy reopens. Prices in the “food away from home” category rose 0.6%, the fastest pace since September.

This is a developing story that will be updated.

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