The Labor Department said in its monthly report the index declined by 0.1 percent, after an 0.8 percent drop in April. The figure added up to an overall 0.1 percent index increase over the past 12 months, it noted.
The department said it’s the first time ever the non-food and energy index has declined for three months in a row. All items not including food and energy also fell in May for the third straight month.
“Declines in the indexes for motor vehicle insurance, energy, and apparel more than offset increases in food and shelter indexes to result in the monthly decrease in the seasonally adjusted all items index,” the department said.
“The gasoline index declined 3.5 percent in May, leading to a 1.8-percent decline in the energy index. The food index, in contrast, increased 0.7 percent in May as the index for food at home rose 1.0 percent.
AAA says the national average for gasoline was $2.07 Wednesday, compared to $2.75 a year ago.
“Along with motor vehicle insurance and apparel, the indexes for airline fares and used cars and trucks declined,” the report added. “The indexes for shelter, recreation, medical care, household furnishings and operations, and new vehicles all increased.”
The index is based on prices in 75 urban areas in the United States.
The department will issue its Producer Price Index, the measure of the cost to produce goods, on Friday.