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U.S. inflation rate up slightly in May

© iStock - Khanchit Khirisutchalual
Casey Harper

(The Center Square) – Recently released inflation data shows prices continue to rise in the U.S.

The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis released its monthly Personal Consumption Expenditure Index, a favorite marker of the Federal Reserve to track inflation, which showed prices rose 0.3 percent in May when excluding food and energy.

When taking into account food and energy prices, prices rose 0.1 percent.

“Disposable personal income (DPI), personal income less personal current taxes, increased $86.7 billion (0.4 percent) and personal consumption expenditures (PCE) increased $18.9 billion (0.1 percent),” BEA said.

The increase is less than previous months during the Biden administration, when inflation soared to the highest levels in decades. Republicans have hammered President Joe Biden for his role in inflation.

“We would not be in this inflation crisis if not for Democrats' big spending bills that fueled the labor shortage and gave billions in special interest tax breaks to the wealthy and well-connected, billion-dollar corporations, and big banks,” House Ways and Means Chairman Jason Smith, R-Mo., said in response to the PCE data.

Biden, though, has touted his economic successes, pointing to relatively low unemployment, the recovery from COVID shutdown-related economic troubles, and the slowing of inflation in recent months.

“When I took office, unemployment was over 6 percent,” Biden said during a speech in Chicago last week where he touted “Bidenomics,” his rebuttal to trickle down economics. “With the American Rescue Plan, we’ve provided relief and support directly to working-class families. Our economy came roaring back. Unemployment dipped below 4 percent by the end of my first year in office. Now it’s been below 4 percent for the longest stretch in 50 years in American history.”

While inflation’s increase has slowed, prices are still much higher than when Biden took office.

“From the preceding month, the PCE price index for May increased 0.1 percent…” BEA said. “Prices for goods decreased 0.1 percent and prices for services increased 0.3 percent. Food prices increased 0.1 percent and energy prices decreased 3.9 percent.”

And price increases in the last year are still far higher than what economists consider healthy for the economy.

“From the same month one year ago, the PCE price index for May increased 3.8 percent,” BEA said. “Prices for goods increased 1.1 percent and prices for services increased 5.3 percent. Food prices increased 5.8 percent and energy prices decreased 13.4 percent. Excluding food and energy, the PCE price index increased 4.6 percent from one year ago.”