US consumer prices jump

The US Labor Department says consumer prices increased 5 percent in May from the same month a year ago, the largest gain since August 2008. The figure is another sign that inflationary pressures have been building up on the back of an economic rebound.

The department released Consumer Price Index data on Thursday. The index tracks changes in a variety of goods and services.

A lack of demand depressed prices early in the pandemic. Consumers received thousands of dollars from government stimulus packages. They are now eager to spend, and that has helped to push prices up.

Consumer prices for the month of May rose 0.6 percent from the previous month.

The indices for food costs climbed 2.2 percent from a year earlier, while airline fares jumped 24.1 percent. Prices of used cars and trucks soared 29.7 percent.

Some market players predict that the Federal Reserve may shift its massive monetary easing policy if the inflation rate hovers above its target of roughly 2 percent.

Fed Chair Jerome Powell has suggested it is still too early to roll back the policy as higher inflation is transitory.