The U.S. consumer price index rose a seasonally adjusted 0.4% in May to mark the biggest gain in more than two years, reflecting a spike in retail gasoline prices ahead of the summer driving season. Economists polled by MarketWatch had expected a 0.5% gain. Gasoline prices shot up 10.4% last month, the largest increase in six years, the Labor Department said Thursday. Food prices were flat, however. Excluding food and energy, so-called core consumer prices rose a smaller 0.1% in May. Over the past 12 months the main CPI is unchanged mainly because of lower energy costs. Gas is a lot cheaper today compared to a year ago despite the increase in May. Core prices are up 1.7% in the same span. Inflation-adjusted hourly wages, meanwhile, fell 0.1% in May. The increase in consumer prices more than offset a 0.3% gain in average hourly earnings. Real hourly wages have risen 2.2% in the past year.
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