Washington: The US Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose 0.3 percent last month and by 2.7 percent over the 12 months ending March 31, the Labor Department said Friday.
Core CPI, which excludes more volatile food and energy prices, climbed 0.2 percent in March and was up 2.3 percent compared with the same month in 2011.
Firms find it difficult to raise prices in an environment where the official jobless rate stands at 8.3 percent and more than 40 percent of the unemployed have been without work for more than six months.
The inflation data indicate the Federal Reserve can keep its benchmark interest rate at less than 0.25 percent, where it has remained since December 2008 in line with the Fed's efforts to foster economic recovery.
The growth in core CPI is attributed to a 1.3 percent hike in the prices of used vehicles, along with higher costs for clothing and healthcare.
Energy prices increased 0.9 percent in March, compared with a spike of 3.2 percent in February, while food prices inched up 0.2 percent last month, the Labor Department said.
First Published: Saturday, April 14, 2012, 11:11