Consumer prices jumped by 0.6 percent in April, the most in three months, pushed higher by rising costs for a wide range of goods and services including gasoline, clothing, rent and medical care.
The big increase in the government’s most closely watched inflation barometer, the Consumer Price Index, came after a stong 0.4 percent advance in March, the Labor Department reported Wednesday.
Excluding energy and food products, which can swing widely from month to month, ”core” prices went up by 0.3 percent in April for the second month in a row. The Federal Reserve and economists closely look at this core inflation reading to get a better sense of how other prices are acting.
The sizable increase in core prices could fan fears that rising energy costs may be starting to breed a broader bout of inflation throughout the economy.
The latest readings on inflation were slightly worse than economists were expecting. Before the release of the report, they were forecasting a 0.5 percent increase in overall consumer prices and a 0.2 percent rise in core prices.