A rise in food and gasoline costs drove a measure of wholesale prices up sharply in May. But outside those volatile categories, inflation was mild.
The Labor Department said Friday that the producer price index rose 0.5 percent in May from April.
Gas prices rose 1.5 percent last month, and food costs increased 0.6 percent.
The increase last month followed a 0.7 percent decline in April and a 0.6 percent drop in March, both of which were driven by steep declines in gas prices.
Core prices, which exclude the food and energy, rose just 0.1 percent in May. That matches the April increase.
The index measures price changes before they reach the consumer.
There really is not much inflationary pressure in the economy, said Paul Dales, an economist at Capital Economics.
Aside from sharp swings in gas prices, consumer and wholesale inflation has increased very slowly in the past year.
Factory output limps ahead 0.1% in May
U.S. factories barely increased their output in May after two months of declines, a sign that manufacturing is providing little support for the economy.
The Federal Reserve said Friday that factory production rose just 0.1 percent in May from April.
Output fell 0.4 percent in April and 0.3 percent in March.
Factories produced more autos, computers and wood products last month, offsetting declines in the production of furniture and primary metals.
Manufacturing output has risen just 1.7 percent in the past 12 months.
Manufacturers are still struggling to cope with the ongoing weakness of global demand, said Paul Dales, senior U.S. economist at Capital Economics.
Cincinnati provides local leaders lessons
More than 50 northeast Indiana leaders visited Cincinnati for 2 1/2 days in early June to meet with leaders and learn more about that areas economic development successes.
The visit was organized by the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership to support its Vision 2020 initiative. The regional initiative was created in 2009 to address northeast Indianas per-capita income level, which that year fell to 79.5 percent of the national average.
Local leaders were from business, education and community service organizations, according to a written statement.
Their Ohio counterparts stressed that building trust allows various groups to work well together. Regions also need a common voice and consistent messages, they said.
Foreign holdings of Treasury debt drop
Foreign demand for U.S. Treasury securities fell in April for the first time in more than a year, as China and Japan both trimmed their holdings.
The Treasury Department said Friday that total foreign holdings dropped 1.2 percent in April from March to $5.67 trillion.
China, the largest foreign buyer of Treasury debt, reduced its holdings 0.4 percent to $1.26 trillion. Japan, the second-largest buyer, cut its holdings 1.2 percent to $1.1 trillion.
Even with the reductions, Treasury debt held by foreigners is up 8.6 percent from a year ago.
The gain shows overseas investors are still buying U.S. debt, despite sharp debates in Congress over reducing federal deficits.