Airfare increases slow dramatically in June but still outpace inflation

After a stunning increase of nearly six percent in May, airfares in the United States leveled off in June, rising 0.4 percent, according to the latest figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)..

The figures contained in the monthly report on the Consumer Price Index (CPI) released July 22 show that, while airline fares rose 5.8 percent in May, the largest one-month increase since July 1999, they increased 0.4 percent in June. Despite the dramatic slowing in the rate of increase, airfares still rose slightly faster than the overall seasonally adjusted increase for all items of 0.3 percent.

That overall figure matches the figure from the April report and marks a slight decline from the 0.4 percent overall CPI increase in May.

According to the BLS, the increase in airfares was primarily driven by the gasoline index, which rose 3.3 percent and accounted for two-thirds of the all items increase. The dramatic increase in May airfares was blamed in part on the unrest in the Middle East. Industry observers don’t expect prices to dip until that unrest is tempered.

Overall, airfares increased 5.3 percent between June 2013 and June 2014, even higher than the 4.7 percent increase from May of last year to May 2014, making the year-over-year change in the June figures the biggest year-over-year change since November 2011.

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