U.S. consumer prices fell in May for the first time in two years as plunging gasoline costs offset increasing rents and more expensive medical care.
Separately, the number of U.S. workers filing initial applications for unemployment benefits rose last week, the latest sign of a weak labor market. Meanwhile, the U.S. current account deficit, a broad measure of U.S. international transactions, widened in the first quarter to its highest level in over three years, as rising oil prices helped drive up the trade gap.
The index of consumer prices, which measures how much Americans pay for everything from a groceries to drugs, decreased a seasonally adjusted 0.3% in May from the prior month, the Labor Department said Thursday. It was the largest monthly decline since December 2008.
Prices were 1.7% higher than a year ago.
However, when removing volatile food and energy costs, consumer prices rose 0.2% last month from April and grew 2.3% year-over-year.