The U.S. Consumer Price Index increased a seasonally adjusted 0.2% in March, according to a Labor Department report (link opens as PDF) released today.
After the index edged up 0.1% in February, analysts had expected another 0.1% bump.
According to the report, the index's increase primarily resulted from price increases for food and shelter. The food index jumped 0.4%, pushed ahead by a 1.2% gain for meats, poultry, fish, and eggs, a 1.1% increase for fruits and vegetables, and a 1% boost for dairy products. The shelter index advanced 0.3%, propelled by a 1.5% jump in lodging away from home prices.
Excluding more volatile food and energy prices, the CPI still managed a 0.2% gain as energy prices took a 0.1% dip for March. Analysts had also expected a 0.1% gain for this "core" index.
Over the last 12 months, the CPI has headed 1.5% higher, with the largest percentage gains coming from utility piped gas (16.4%), electricity (5.3%), and shelter (2.7%).