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The cost of consumer goods and services as measured by the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) rose 0.1 percent nationwide from May ’19 to May ’20, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Core inflation (all items less the volatile food and energy categories) increased 1.2 percent since May ’19.
The cost of energy decreased 18.9 percent from the previous May, largely due to a 33.5 percent decline in motor fuel prices. Electricity and natural gas costs also decreased, 0.2 percent and 0.3 percent respectively. The shelter index grew 2.5 percent from May ’19. Food prices increased 4.0 percent, with the cost of dining out increasing 2.9 percent. Grocery prices rose 4.8 percent.
In the Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land metro area, the energy index fell 22.7 percent since May ’19. The shelter index increased 2.0 percent, and grocery prices increased 4.1 percent from May ’19 to May ’20.
The COVID-19 pandemic led to widespread price declines in the Houston region, most notably in prices for apparel and motor vehicle insurance. These declines were partially offset by increases in the cost of shelter, food and medical care.
The June CPI data for Houston, which includes all items in the index, will be released July 14.
 CPI data in this commentary are not seasonally adjusted.
 Austin, Brazoria, Chambers, Fort Bend, Galveston, Harris, Liberty, Montgomery and Waller Counties.
Elizabeth Balderrama, PCED
Patrick Jankowski, CERP
Senior Vice President, Research
Houston's energy index fell 22.7 percent since last May