Driven by lower energy costs, inflation is now at 4%, according to data released Tuesday. It’s the slowest rate of increase in two years.
The new numbers come ahead of the Federal Reserve meeting this week on interest rates after imposing 10 straight interest rate hikes dating back to March 2022.
Inflation climbed 4% through May, less than the 4.1 percent economists had expected. In April, inflation was up 4.9%.
The which measures costs of goods and services, increased 0.1% in May. Gasoline prices fell 5.6% in May and rent prices were essentially flat with a 0.5% increase.
Gasoline and rent prices are key indicators of consumer confidence, said Kent Gardner, former chief economist at the Center for Governmental Research.
One of the economic issues that occurred during the pandemic is that people accumulated excess money from not traveling and with government assistance, thus causing inflation, Gardner explained.
While the Fed may be aiming at a 2% inflation rate, Gardner believes that privately, policymakers are encouraged by the current 4%.
For the average American, the rising cost of goods and services have become a part of post-pandemic life.
“Four percent is small enough that most people will shrug it up,” Gardner said.