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Higher Women’s and Children’s Prices Prop Up Apparel CPI in May

Apparel and footwear prices eked out a slight gain in May for the second straight month, resisting the downward pressure exerted on the categories earlier in the year. However, increases continue to remain very small relative to those in other major consumer purchase categories.

Overall inflation increased by a more-than-expected 2.1% in May, according to data just released by the U.S. Department of Commerce, the biggest year-over-year jump in the index in over two years. Housing, food and energy prices were the major culprits, with indexes rising due to higher rents and increases in prices of electricity, food and gasoline. The food index had its biggest increase since August 2011.

Prices for all goods and services rose by 0.4% (unadjusted for seasonality) compared to April.

The index for apparel and footwear, increased from a 0.6% rise last month to a 0.8% increase in May.


Apparel prices (excluding footwear) experienced a 1.2% year-over-year increase, compared to a 1 percent gain in April. Footwear prices dropped by 1 percent, less than April’s 1.2% dip.


Women’s apparel prices jumped by 2.7% in the month, while menswear prices fell by 2.4%.

The price index for infants’ and children’s increased for the third time in fifteen months, rising 1.4% in May, less than April’s 2.6% gain.