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Posted: Tuesday, June 17th 2014 at 8:49am

Consumer prices up in May; home building declines

By The Associated Press
EMAIL STORY CONTACT EDITOR PRINT
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WASHINGTON (AP) -- U.S. consumer prices increased in May by the largest amount in more than a year as the cost of food and gasoline showed big gains and airline fares jumped by the largest amount in 15 years. Meanwhile, the pace of home construction slipped.

The Labor Department says its consumer price index rose 0.4 percent in May, the biggest one-month jump since a 0.6 percent increase in February 2013.

Over the past 12 months, consumer prices are up 2.1 percent. While that was the biggest 12-month price change since October 2012, it still left prices rising at a modest pace near the Federal Reserve's 2 percent target.

Excluding volatile food and energy, core inflation was up 0.3 percent in May, the biggest one-month gain since August 2011. Over the past 12 months, core prices are up 2 percent.

HOME BUILDING PACE DECLINES

The pace of U.S home construction slipped in May with many Americans still struggling to afford new houses.

The Commerce Department says builders started work at a seasonally adjusted annual rate on 1.01 million homes. That was down 6.5 percent from 1.07 million in April.

Construction firms began work on fewer single-family houses, condominiums and apartments last month.

Building tailed off in the Northeast, Midwest and West. Only the South experienced greater construction activity in May.

Housing starts have risen 9.4 percent over the past 12 months. But apartments account for most of the gains, suggesting that more Americans will be renting instead of owning homes.

Applications for building permits, a gauge of future activity, fell 6.4 percent in May to an annual rate of 991,000.
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