Hospital consumer prices barely budged upward last month, just one month after they recorded the largest one-month drop
since the federal government began recording the price indices 16 years ago.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics
reported that consumer hospital prices climbed 0.1% in May, which followed the 0.7% decline in April. One year ago in May, the agency reported an increase in hospital consumer prices of 0.5%. The figures are part of agency's Consumer Price Index.
In the past year, hospital prices increased only 3.8% compared with 5% growth the prior year.
Inpatient hospital consumer prices accelerated more quickly last month at 0.3% than outpatient consumer prices, which were flat.
Physician consumer prices were flat in May after an increase of 0.4% the prior month. In May 2012, consumer prices for physician services increased 0.3%. For the year that ended last month, consumers saw physician prices increased 2.4% compared with the 1.7% growth the year before.
A second measure of inflation, the BLS Producer Price Index,
also saw hospital prices rise slightly last month.
The index for acute-care hospitals captured a 0.1% increase in May after the 0.6% drop in April, the largest one-month decline since January 2004.
The figures are preliminary.
In May 2012, the acute care PPI also increased 0.1%.
For the year that ended last month, the acute-care producer price index climbed 1.8% compared with 2.5% the prior year.
The physician produce price index increased 0.1% in May after a 0.2% decline the prior month. In May 2012, the physician office PPI dropped 0.1%. For the year that ended last month, the physician office PPI increased 0.2% compared with 1.4% the year before. Follow Melanie Evans on Twitter: @MHmevans