WASHINGTON, D.C. —Today, the Bureau of Labor Statistics announced that inflation as measured by the consumer price index (CPI) on all items increased by 3.3% for the 12 months ending in May—slightly lower than April’s 3.4%. Core inflation, which excludes volatile energy and food prices, rose at a pace of 3.4% in May from a year prior (down from 3.6%). Inflation on shelter increased by 5.4% and on food by 2.1%, respectively, over the past 12 months. Real wages increased by just 0.5% for another month.

Patrice Onwuka, director of the Center for Economic Opportunity (CEO) at IWF, issued the following statement:

“Today’s inflation report demonstrates a very slight easing of price increases. However, Americans aren’t moved by a 0.1% decrease in the inflation rate; they care more that prices are up over 20% over the past three years and that their paychecks purchase less and less each week.

“Not only have households battled the toll of elevated inflation, but they continue to pay a heavy price to keep a roof over their heads. Rental rates are up 20%, interest rates are double or triple, and house prices are up 31% in 2024 compared to three years ago. The Federal Reserve’s battle against inflation will be hard to win because rising prices for shelter account for over two-thirds of the total 12-month increase in core inflation (all items minus food and energy).

“Even if interest rates receded, we have a housing affordability crisis driven by a housing shortage decades in the making. Our nation is short between 1.5 million and 5.5 million homes. These are homes that could be purchased or rented and provide relief to half of U.S. renters who paid more than 30% of their income for rent and the quarter of renters who paid above half of their income on rent. 

“Policymakers can expand the housing supply by reducing the onerous regulations and red tape that make it costly, inefficient, and sometimes impossible to build new homes or smaller dwelling units (such as in-law suits, converted basements, and guest houses) on single-home lots.”

Independent Women’s Forum has a new paper explaining how accessory dwelling units (ADUs) can help to address housing affordability. Read it here.

Independent Women’s Forum is dedicated to developing and advancing policies that aren’t just well intended but actually enhance people’s freedom, choices, and opportunities.
Independent Women’s Forum’s Center for Economic Opportunity (CEO) aims to educate the public about how government policies impact people’s opportunities for economic development and upward mobility.