March Shows Rise in U.S. Inflation Rate

Federal Reserve officials have said they’re waiting to see what the national inflation rate does before deciding when, or if, to cut interest rates after having raised them 11 times since March 2022.

If the consumer inflation rate from March is any indication, such cuts may wait a little longer.

In a report issued Wednesday, the government said inflation remained high, affected by prices of gas, rent and auto insurance, among other statistics.

Prices outside food and energy categories rose 0.4% from February to March, the Associated Press reported. It’s the same accelerated pace as in the previous month. Measured from a year earlier, these core prices are up 3.8%, unchanged from the year-over-year rise in February.

The March figures show inflation is stuck at an elevated level after having steadily dropped in the second half of 2023, according to the AP report.

The report “pours cold water on the view that the faster readings in January and February simply represented the start of new-year price increases that were not likely to persist,” Kathy Bostjancic, chief economist at Nationwide, said in a research note, according to the AP. “The lack of moderation in inflation will undermine Fed officials’ confidence that inflation is on a sustainable course back to 2% and likely delays rate cuts to September at the earliest and could push off rate reductions to next year.”

Overall consumer prices rose 0.4% from February to March, the same as in the previous month. Compared with a year ago, prices rose 3.5%, up from a year-over-year figure of 3.2% in February.

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Brad Kadrich
Brad Kadrich is an award-winning journalist with more than 30 years’ experience, most recently as an editor/content coach for the Observer & Eccentric Newspapers and Hometown Life, managing 10 newspapers in Wayne and Oakland counties. He was born in Detroit, grew up in Warren and spent 15 years in the U.S. Air Force, primarily producing base newspapers and running media and community relations operations.