(Bloomberg) -- The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported the national Consumer Price Index for all urban consumers rose 1.8% in May compared to last year, the lowest rate in three months. But the national average masks a wide divergence among metro areas.

The BLS also released data showing that inflation among large Metropolitan Statistical Areas ranged from 1% to 4%. The latest available data for San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward metro shows a 4% surge compared with a much cooler 1% inflation rate in both the St. Louis and Detroit metro areas. The four metros with the highest inflation rates are all in California.

On the East Coast, Baltimore is rising at a 2.6% rate, while just 40 miles south in Washington D.C., year-over-year inflation was measured at 1.6%. Regional divergences from the Federal Reserve’s implicit inflation target can complicate the central bank’s mission of setting appropriate national monetary policy.

For the Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York metro areas, the BLS releases monthly data. For others the data is staggered with some metros released every other month.

To contact the reporter on this story: Alex Tanzi in Washington at atanzi@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Alex Tanzi at atanzi@bloomberg.net, Chris Middleton

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