Consumer prices rose 0.3% in March, after climbing 0.4% last month on a seasonally adjusted basis, the Labor Department reported Friday.
Core consumer prices, which exclude food and energy, were up 0.2% for the month, after rising 0.1% in February. The February core price represented a downward revision from an originally reported gain of 0.2%.
Economists polled by Thomson Reuters hit the mark both times in projecting that the consumer price index would climb 0.3% and that core prices would advance 0.2%.
The increased CPI level for March reflected a 0.9% climb in energy prices, including a 1.7% increase in gasoline prices. The rise in gasoline prices more than offset a 0.8% drop in the price of electricity, Labor said. The price of food also rose, climbing 0.2% on the back of increased prices for meats, poultry, fish and eggs.
Among the few indexes to experience a decline in March were tobacco and household furnishings, which fell 0.3% and 0.1%, respectively.
Consumer prices were up 2.7% for the 12 months ending in March, which was a decline from the previous month’s year-over-year advance of 2.9% Core prices rose 2.3% since March 2011, a slight increase from the 2.2% yearly gain for February.
Meanwhile, real average hourly earnings fell 0.1% in March after falling by that same percentage in both February and January on a seasonally adjusted basis, the Labor Department said in a separate release.