Consumer prices dropped 0.3 percent in March following a tiny 0.1 percent rise in February, the
Core inflation, which excludes volatile food and energy, dropped 0.1 percent last month. Over the past 12 months, inflation is up a moderate 2.4 percent while core prices have risen 2 percent.
However, with steady gains in employment and a jobless rate now down to 4.5 percent, the lowest in nearly a decade, and energy prices rebounding, inflation is beginning to rise.
“Another month like March and a June rate hike will become less likely,” he said in a research note.
For March, energy prices dropped 3.2 percent, led by the big 6.2 percent plunge in gasoline prices. Even with the decline, gasoline prices are 19.9 percent higher than a year ago.
Food costs edged up 0.3 percent last month but remain only 0.5 percent higher than a year ago.
Outside of energy and food, the prices of car insurance, medical care and airline fares were all up in March.