Consumer Prices See Largest Increase In Almost 9 Years

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The consumer price index (CPI) rose 0.6% in March, the highest increase in nearly nine years as the end of lockdowns prompted a surge in commuting and travel, according to data published by the Labor Department Tuesday.

Gasoline prices rose 9.1 percent in March, which accounts for about half of the CPI’s increase for the month, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) report. March’s 0.6% increase follows a 0.4% increase in February, according to the BLS report.

The all items index rose 2.6% for the 12-month period ending in March, a larger increase than the 1.7% reported for the period ending in February, according to the report.

The report stated food – both at home and away from home – saw a 0.1% jump from a month earlier. The natural gas index rose to 5% in March. The index for meats, poultry, fish, fruits and vegetables rose while dairy products and nonalcoholic beverages dropped, according to the report.

The index for all items other than food and energy rose 0.3%.

Federal Reserve policymakers view the 2.6% inflation increase as temporary because of the decline in prices in March of 2020 at the start of the pandemic, Bloomberg reported.