Inflation remains up 6.3% over a year ago
A measure of inflation that is closely tracked by the Federal Reserve jumped 6.3% in May from a year earlier, unchanged from its level in April.
Thursday’s report from the Commerce Department provided the latest evidence that painfully high inflation is pressuring American households and inflicting particular harm on low-income families and people of color.
The government’s report also said that consumer spending rose at a sluggish 0.2% rate from April to May. On a month-to-month basis, prices rose 0.6% from April to May, up from the 0.2% increase from March to April.
Credit reports remove some medical debts
Help is coming for many people struggling with medical debt on credit reports.
Starting Friday, the three major U.S. credit reporting companies will stop counting paid medical debt on their reports, which banks and others use to judge creditworthiness.
The companies also will start giving patients a year to resolve delinquent medical debt that has been sent to collections before reporting it. That’s up from six months Next year, the companies also will stop counting unpaid medical debt under $500.
Patient advocates cheer these moves, but they want more. They question whether medical debt should remain on credit reports at all.
Mortgage rates dip after recent jumps
Average long-term U.S. mortgage rates eased back this week after shooting up nearly three-quarters of a point in recent weeks.
Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac reported Thursday that the 30-year rate fell to 5.70% this week from 5.81% last week. One year ago, however, the average 30-year rate was 2.98%.
The average rate on 15-year, fixed-rate mortgages, popular among those refinancing their homes, fell to 4.83% from 4.92% last week. A year ago, the rate was 2.26%.
The Federal Reserve raised its benchmark rate this month by three-quarters of a point, the biggest single hike since 1994.
Spirit vote delay boosts share price
Shares of Spirit Airlines are rising after the budget airline postponed a vote on a merger with Frontier for the second time.
Spirit announced hours before a shareholder meeting Thursday that the merger vote will be pushed back to July 8. That will give Spirit more time to talk with Frontier and JetBlue Airways, which is also bidding for Spirit.
JetBlue’s CEO sees the latest delay as a sign that his airline will eventually win the bidding war.
Semi-trailers required to have stronger guards
Starting in about two years, all new semi trailers in the U.S. will have to have stronger guards to stop cars from sliding under them in rear-end crashes.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said Thursday that it finalized the requirement. Manufacturers will get time to design changes to strengthen the guards so they prevent most rear underride crashes.
Such guards have been sought by safety advocates for years to prevent the crashes, which often are deadly.
The agency also says it will research side underride guard requirements for large trailers, with plans to start the regulatory process to require them.
NHTSA Administrator Steven Cliff said in a statement that the rear underride impact guards will improve protection for people in passenger vehicles. The rule was required by Congress under the bipartisan infrastructure law.
— Compiled by Dave Flessner