Inflation surprise: Here's what's inside the red-hot CPI report

The increase in CPI was broad-based — driven by rising prices for shelter, gasoline and food — offering little comfort to those who had suggested that inflation would begin to ease.

The increase in CPI was broad-based — driven by rising prices for shelter, gasoline and food — offering little comfort to those who had suggested that inflation would begin to ease.

The increase in CPI was broad-based — driven by rising prices for shelter, gasoline and food — offering little comfort to those who had suggested that inflation would begin to ease.

The increase in CPI was broad-based — driven by rising prices for shelter, gasoline and food — offering little comfort to those who had suggested that inflation would begin to ease.

The surge in U.S. consumer prices in May surprised economists, undercut the Biden administration’s hopes that inflation would moderate in the coming months and could put pressure on the Federal Reserve to accelerate interest rate hikes.

Those are some of the takeaways from the government’s report on Friday that the Consumer Price Index, a closely watched measure of what Americans pay for goods and services, increased at an annual pace of 8.6 percent through May — the fastest rate in four decades and more than economists expected.

The increase in CPI was broad-based — driven by rising prices for shelter, gasoline and food — offering little comfort to those who had suggested that inflation would begin to ease.

The increase in CPI was broad-based — driven by rising prices for shelter, gasoline and food — offering little comfort to those who had suggested that inflation would begin to ease.

“We are looking to inflation moderating in the months ahead,” a White House official told reporters on Thursday before the release of the numbers, citing rising labor force participation, declining job openings and slowing wage growth. “The totality of recent economic data does indicate that our economy is beginning that transition.”

Economists had expected inflation to moderate somewhat this month, with some predicting that the price increases had peaked. But a slowdown was nowhere to be seen as the 8.6 percent annualized jump in prices was well above April’s 8.3 percent and the 8.2 percent that economists had forecast, as well as a pandemic high. Prices rose a seasonally adjusted 1 percent in May alone from April.