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Data: Bureau of Labor Statistics; Chart: Axios Visuals

The U.S. consumer price index fell for the third straight month in May with a gauge of the index that removes volatile food and energy prices also negative for a third month in a row.

Why it matters: The reports fan worries that the coronavirus pandemic could spark deflation, further eroding U.S. growth.

  • It was the first time in the history of the series, which dates back to the 1950s, that the CPI has declined for three straight months.
  • April marked the lowest that the core CPI has ever fallen, touching -0.4%.
  • May's CPI also showed the smallest year-over-year increase since 2011, at 1.2%, and followed another historically small increase in April.

Watch this space: May's CPI was the latest government report to come with a warning. The Labor Department said it was hampered by the coronavirus pandemic, as in-store data collection has been suspended since March 16.

  • The department added that data collection last month was also impacted “by the temporary closing or limited operations of certain types of establishments,” leading to “an increase in the number of prices being considered temporarily unavailable and imputed.”
  • BLS said the same thing in its CPI report last month and noted a “misclassification error” in its highly followed jobs report released last

Go deeper: Why the Fed wants higher inflation

Go deeper

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
Aug 24, 2020 - Economy & Business

PMI reports show V-shaped recovery in services and manufacturing

Expand chart
Data: Investing.com; Chart: Axios Visuals

Early readings of IHS Markit's manufacturing and services purchasing managers' indexes rose by more than expected in August, showing continued improvement in expectations and output among U.S. firms.

By the numbers: The manufacturing index rose by 2.7 points month over month to 53.6, continuing the series' rise from 50.9 in July.

3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Inhofe loudly sets Trump straight on defense bill

Sen. Jim Inhofe speaks with reporters in the Capitol last month. Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty Images

Senator Jim Inhofe told President Trump today he'll likely fail to get two big wishes in pending defense spending legislation, bellowing into his cellphone: "This is the only chance to get our bill passed," a source who overheard part of their conversation tells Axios.

Why it matters: Republicans are ready to test whether Trump's threats of vetoing the bill, which has passed every year for more than half a century, are empty.

Conspiracy theories blow back on Trump's White House

Sidney Powell. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

President Trump has rarely met a conspiracy theory he doesn't like, but he and other Republicans now worry the wild tales told by lawyers Sidney Powell and Lin Wood may cost them in Georgia's Senate special elections.

Why it matters: The two are telling Georgians not to vote for Republicans David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler because of a bizarre, baseless and potentially self-defeating theory: It's not worth voting because the Chinese Communist Party has rigged the voting machines.