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Wednesday July 8th, 2015 2:37AM

Consumer prices up in May; home building declines

By The Associated Press
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.<br /> <br /> 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.<br /> <br /> 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.<br /> <br /> 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.<br /> <br /> HOME BUILDING PACE DECLINES<br /> <br /> The pace of U.S home construction slipped in May with many Americans still struggling to afford new houses.<br /> <br /> 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.<br /> <br /> Construction firms began work on fewer single-family houses, condominiums and apartments last month.<br /> <br /> Building tailed off in the Northeast, Midwest and West. Only the South experienced greater construction activity in May.<br /> <br /> 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.<br /> <br /> 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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