For the second consecutive month, U.S. energy costs rose dramatically in March, pushing the closely watched Consumer Price Index (CPI) higher than expected. On a seasonally adjusted basis, the CPI for all urban consumers rose six-tenths of a percentage point in March, the U.S. Labor Department reported April 20.
Economists generally had expected a slightly-less-inflationary half-percent increase. March's CPI increase was substantially higher than either February's four-tenths percent increase or January's one-tenth percent increase.
Last month the so-called core CPI-the overall index minus price changes for food and fuel-rose four-tenths of a percentage point, twice as high as the two-tenths percent economists generally expected. In February, the core CPI rose three-tenths of a percentage point, and in January it rose two-tenths.