The cost of living in the United States has fallen at the sharpest rate in about six decades.
report from the Labor Department is fresh evidence that the recession
is keeping businesses from raising prices and workers from demanding
The data show that the U.S. consumer price index fell
1.3 percent in the 12-month period that ended in May. While costs fell
for the year, there was a slight increase in prices (one-tenth of a percent) in May.
The recession is also cutting U.S. trade with
the rest of the world. A Commerce Department report Wednesday says
U.S. exports and imports dropped sharply.
The gap between the
value of goods and services Americans buy from foreigners and what they
sell abroad (the current account deficit) shrank to just over $100
billion for the first three months of this year.
Meanwhile, two of the world's top package delivery companies say the worst of the recession may be over.
economists look at U.S.-based United Parcel Service and FedEx as
bellwethers because consumers and
businesses send more packages when economic conditions are good.
said Tuesday it expects the next six months will be "extremely
difficult" but that the company's fortunes should improve by early next
FedEx says revenue for the three months ending in May, $7.85 billion, fell 20 percent compared to the same time last year.
On Tuesday, UPS Chief Executive Scott Davis predicted the recession would be over by the end of the year.
Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.