The Labor Department reported that rising food costs were offset by falling energy prices and consumer prices rose 0.2 percent in March after a gain of 0.1 percent in February.
On a year-over-year basis, the official measure of annual inflation in the U.S. is now 1.5 percent, up from 1.1 percent the month prior.
Food prices rose 0.4 percent last month paced by a 1.9 percent jump in the cost of beef and an increase of 1.1 percent in pork prices. Rising shelter costs also contributed to the overall gain as owners’ equivalent rent and actual rent both rose 0.3 percent.
Despite the sharp rise in pump prices last month (about 5 percent according to the Energy Department), the Labor Department reported that fuel costs fell almost 2 percent last month, presumably due to seasonal adjustments where the normal price rise this spring was not as large as in previous years.