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Producer Price Index

The Free Press WV

The Producer Price Index for final demand rose 0.5 percent in May, seasonally adjusted, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Final demand prices advanced 0.1 percent in April and 0.3 percent in March.  On an unadjusted basis, the final demand index moved up 3.1 percent for the 12 months ended in May, the largest 12-month increase since climbing 3.1 percent in January 2012.

In May, 60 percent of the rise in the index for final demand is attributable to a 1.0-percent advance in prices for final demand goods. The index for final demand services moved up 0.3 percent.

Prices for final demand less foods, energy, and trade services edged up 0.1 percent in May, the same as in April. For the 12 months ended in May, the index for final demand less foods, energy, and trade services climbed 2.6 percent.


Final Demand

Final demand goods: The index for final demand goods moved up 1.0 percent in May, the largest advance since a 1.1-percent rise in May 2015. In May 2018, over 80 percent of the broad-based increase in prices for final demand goods can be traced to the index for final demand energy, which jumped 4.6 percent. Prices for final demand goods less foods and energy and for final demand foods rose 0.3 percent and 0.1 percent, respectively.

Product detail: Half of the advance in the index for final demand goods is attributable to a 9.8-percent increase in gasoline prices. The indexes for jet fuel, fresh and dry vegetables, diesel fuel, beef and veal, and light motor trucks also moved higher. In contrast, prices for chicken eggs fell 31.2 percent. The indexes for residential natural gas and for plastic resins and materials also decreased.

Final demand services: Prices for final demand services moved up 0.3 percent in May, the fifth consecutive rise. In May, 80 percent of the advance in the index for final demand services can be traced to margins for final demand trade services, which climbed 0.9 percent. (Trade indexes measure changes in margins received by wholesalers and retailers.) Prices for final demand transportation and warehousing services increased 0.7 percent. The index for final demand services less trade, transportation, and warehousing was unchanged. 

Product detail: One-third of the May advance in prices for final demand services is attributable to a 1.5-percent rise in margins for machinery, equipment, parts, and supplies wholesaling. The indexes for chemicals and allied products wholesaling; outpatient care (partial); apparel, footwear, and accessories retailing; food retailing; and truck transportation of freight also moved higher. Conversely, prices for guestroom rental fell 4.4 percent. The indexes for fuels and lubricants retailing and for hospital inpatient care also moved lower.

Consumer Price Index

The Free Press WV

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) increased 0.2 percent in May on a seasonally adjusted basis after rising 0.2 percent in April, the U.S.  Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Over the last 12 months, the all items index rose 2.8 percent before seasonal adjustment.

The indexes for gasoline and shelter were the largest factors in the seasonally adjusted increase in the all items index, as they were in April. The gasoline index increased 1.7 percent, more than offsetting declines in some of the other energy component indexes and led to a 0.9-percent rise in the energy index.  The medical care index rose 0.2 percent. The food index was unchanged over the month.

The index for all items less food and energy rose 0.2 percent in May. The shelter index rose 0.3 percent in May. The indexes for new vehicles, education and communication, and tobacco increased in May, while the indexes for household furnishing and operations, and used cars and trucks fell. The indexes for apparel,  recreation, and personal care were unchanged.
The all items index rose 2.8 percent for the 12 months ending May, continuing its upward trend since the beginning of the year. The index for all items less food and energy rose 2.2 percent for the 12 months ending May. The food index increased 1.2 percent, and the energy index rose 11.7 percent.

Real Earnings

The Free Press WV

All employees

Real average hourly earnings for all employees increased 0.1 percent from April to May, seasonally adjusted, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. This result stems from a 0.3-percent increase in average hourly earnings being offset by a 0.2-percent increase in the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U).

Real average weekly earnings increased 0.1 percent over the month due to the increase in real average hourly earnings combined with the unchanged average workweek. 

Real average hourly earnings were unchanged, seasonally adjusted, from May 2017 to May 2018. Combined with a 0.3-percent increase in the average workweek, real average weekly earnings increased by 0.3 percent over this period.


Production and nonsupervisory employees

Real average hourly earnings for production and nonsupervisory employees increased 0.1 percent from April to May, seasonally adjusted. This result stems from a 0.3-percent increase in average hourly earnings combined with a 0.2-percent increase in the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W).

Real average weekly earnings increased 0.1 percent over the month due to the increase in real average hourly earnings combined with no change in average weekly hours.

From May 2017 to May 2018, real average hourly earnings decreased 0.1 percent, seasonally adjusted. The decrease in real average hourly earnings combined with a 0.6-percent increase in the average workweek resulted in a 0.5-percent increase in real average weekly earnings over this period.

Worker Finds $1M Ticket on Counter, Tracks Down Owner

The Free Press WV

For a few moments, convenience store clerk Andy Patel was the only person in the world who knew he had a $1 million lottery ticket in his hand. Then he started trying to find the ticket’s owner. Patel says it happened in March, when a customer came into the Pit Stop in Salinas to check three Kansas Lottery tickets, the Salina Journal reports. He says he ran two of the tickets but didn’t realize there was a third one on the counter until the man had already left. After he discovered it was a $1 million winner, he contacted Kal Patel—no relation—whose parents own the store, and determined that the man who brought the ticket in was a longtime customer. Kal Patel says he drove around until he found the customer.

“They didn’t know they had the winning ticket, so they never would have known if I hadn’t found them. But then you’d have to live through the guilt of that all your life,“ Kal Patel tells the Journal, adding: “Good deeds come back to help you, and bad deeds come back to haunt you.“ He says that when he found the customer and his brother and showed them the ticket, “they started shaking” and couldn’t believe it until they went to the store again to check the numbers. Kal Patel says some friends have given him a hard time for not just keeping the $1 million, but he has no regrets and would do the same thing again. WIBW reports that for their honesty, Andy and Kal Patel were given a Helping Hand reward of $1,200.

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