May’s inflation numbers came in a bit higher than expected with a 0.6% monthly increase and 5.0% annual increase. Economist expectations were for a 0.5% and 4.7% increase, respectively. The annual figure was the highest since coming out of the Global Financial Crisis in August 2008. The categories that are most sensitive to the reopening of the economy dominated price pressures, continuing the trend from April. Roughly half of the increase came from six components, used cars, rental cars, vehicle insurance, lodging, airfares, and foodservice. The proportion of the increase is down from nearly two-thirds in April, but adds further evidence to the argument that the price increases may be transitory.
Consumer sentiment increased in June’s preliminary results, up to 86.4, from 82.9 in May. Improved outlooks for the economy and lessening inflation concerns drove the increase. An all-time record number of consumers are anticipating a net decline in unemployment and, despite the decrease in concerns, inflation still rates among the top concerns of consumers.
The steady improvement in initial jobless claims continued with 376K vs. 385K the week prior.