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Prices for final demand services rose +0.3% in May, but were held back by a -0.2% drop in final demand goods prices, edging overall wholesale inflation up +0.1% in May, and dropping the yearly wholesale inflation rate from 2.2% in April to 1.8%. Nearly 80% of the increase in service prices was due to a +9.2% increase in traveler accommodation services with an additional 8.4% increase in services arranging cruises and tours, while trade services, which measure changes in margins received by wholesalers and retailers, were down -0.5%. In goods pricing both food (-0.3%) and energy (-1.0%) prices were down and removing those components kept goods prices unchanged for the month. Core wholesale inflation, which removes the more volatile food, energy and trade services components, was up +0.4% for the month and ticked up +0.1% to 2.3% for the year.
Consumer prices rose +0.1% in May as increases in costs for services (+0.2%) and food (+0.3%) were buffered by drops in prices for energy (-0.6%) and used vehicles (-1.4%). Energy prices fell in all categories, with drops of -1.0% for piped gas, -0.8% for electricity, and -0.5% for gasoline. The largest increases in service prices were for airline fares (+2.0%) and hospital services (+0.5%), while prices dropped for motor vehicle repair (-0.2%) and motor vehicle insurance (-0.4%). Removing the effects of food and energy prices brought core inflation up +0.1% but yearly core inflation fell -0.1% to 2.0%. On a yearly basis prices rose the most for tobacco products (+4.6%), motor vehicle repair (+3.4%), and shelter (+3.3%) and dropped the most for apparel (-3.1%) and piped gas (-2.6%).
Utility production rose +2.1% in May, recovering from a -3.1% drop in April and leading gains across all categories of industrial production. Industrial production was up +0.4% overall for the month, recovering from an upwardly revised -0.4% slump the previous month, and up +2.0% for the year. Mining ticked up +0.1%, with a yearly gain of +10.0%, and although capacity usage slipped from 91.6% to 91.3%, mining capacity grew +7.2% for the year. Manufacturing grew +0.2% after having decreased -0.4% on average for the first four months of 2019 with manufacturing capacity remaining stable at 75.7%, but still -2.6% below its long run average.
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