By COLIN STAUB
If you haven’t gotten an 8.6% raise over the past year, you’re not keeping up with inflation.
That’s how much the consumer price index increased from May 2021 to May 2022, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) announced this month. Energy was (unsurprisingly) the largest driver: The price index for fuel oil increased 106.7% year over year (the largest annual increase since BLS started tracking it in 1935). Just from April to May, fuel oil was up 16.9%. Inflation has dampened workers’ buying power. A slight increase in May earnings wasn’t enough to overtake 1% inflation growth, leading to a 0.6% drop in real average hourly earnings. Meanwhile, unemployment stayed at a flat 3.6% in May, with about 6 million Americans unemployed. Those figures indicate unemployment has returned close to its pre-pandemic level in February 2020, when unemployment was at 3.5%.