Consumer Prices See Biggest Jump in More than a Year

April 11, 2019

March saw the biggest increase in U.S. consumer prices in 14 months. The Labor Department’s Consumer Price Index (CPI) was up 0.4 percent last month, up from a 0.2 percent increase in February. Driven by increases in the costs of gasoline, food and rent, the month saw the biggest increase since January 2018. In the 12 months through March, the CPI increased 1.9 percent.

Despite the large increase, the underlying pressures of inflation remain timid. The “core” CPI, which strips out the more volatile food and energy components, was up just 0.1 percent, the same amount as the month before. In the last year, the core CPI increased 2.0 percent, the smallest increase in over a year. Though the Fed uses a different index to track inflation, the sluggish increase to CPI suggests that their decision to halt further interest rate increases is unlikely to change.

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