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US consumer prices edged up 0.1% in May

FILE- In this May 30, 2019, file photo, signs advertise new products available inside a CVS store with the new HealthHUB in Spring, Texas. On Wednesday, June 12, the Labor Department reports on U.S. consumer prices for May. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip, File)

WASHINGTON — U.S. consumer prices increased a slight 0.1% in May, as inflation was tempered by lower costs for gasoline, electricity and used cars.

The Labor Department says that the consumer price index rose 1.8% during the past year. Excluding the volatile food and energy categories, core prices rose 0.1% in May and 2% from a year ago.

Inflation has been consistently muted, slightly below or near the Federal Reserve’s target of 2% even though the economy is poised in July to set the record for the longest expansion in U.S. history.

Falling unemployment rates and a pick-up in wages have done little to push prices higher. Adjusted for inflation, average hourly earnings have climbed 1.3% in the past year. That same annual figure was up just 0.2% in May 2018.

Josh Boak, The Associated Press