Inflation accelerated further in May, with prices rising 8.6 percent from a year ago for the fastest increase since December 1981, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday.
The consumer price index, a wide-ranging measure of goods and services prices, increased even more than the 8.3 percent Dow Jones estimate.
Excluding volatile food and energy prices, the so-called core CPI was up 6 percent, slightly higher than the 5.9 percent estimate.
On a monthly basis, headline CPI was up 1 percent, while core rose 0.6 percent, compared with respective estimates of 0.7 percent and 0.5 percent.
Surging shelter, gasoline, and food prices all contributed to the increase. Energy prices broadly rose 3.9 percent from a month ago, bringing the annual gain to 34.6 percent.
Within the category, fuel oil posted a 16.9% monthly gain, pushing the 12-month surge to 106.7 percent.
Shelter costs, which account for about a one-third weighting in the CPI, rose 0.6 percent for the month, the fastest one-month gain since March 2004.
The 5.5 percent 12-month gain is the most since February 1991. Finally, food costs climbed another 1.2 percent in May, bringing the year-over-year gain to 10.1 percent.
Those escalating prices meant workers took another pay cut during the month. Real wages when accounting for inflation fell 0.6 percent in April, even though average hourly earnings rose 0.3 percent, according to a separate BLS release.
On a 12-month basis, real average hourly earnings were down 3 percent.