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Rise in consumer prices in U.S. in March highest since 2012

A major factor in the rise of prices in March was a 9.1% increase in the cost of gasoline, which accounted for about half the monthly gain. File Photo by Gary I Rothstein/UPI
A major factor in the rise of prices in March was a 9.1% increase in the cost of gasoline, which accounted for about half the monthly gain. File Photo by Gary I Rothstein/UPI | License Photo

April 13 (UPI) -- Consumer prices during the month of March increased more than most economists predicted, according to monthly figures released by the Labor Department on Tuesday.

The Consumer Price Index showed a 0.6% rise from February and a 2.6% increase over March 2020, in the early weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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It was the largest month-to-month rise since an identical increase in August 2012.

Most experts predicted a 0.5% increase for March.

The index monitors changes in prices for goods and services in the United States.

A major factor in the rise last month was a 9.1% increase in the cost of gasoline, which accounted for about half the gain.

Experts say the rise in prices is a reflection of a stronger economy.

"Inflation in March 2021 is still under control," Gus Faucher, chief economist at the PNC Financial Services Group, told the Wall Street Journal Tuesday. "It takes time for inflationary pressures to build in the economy."

The report showed a 3.5% increase for food prices and a 13.2% rise in the energy prices compared to March 2020.

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National Institutes of Health official Dr. Anthony Fauci (C) speaks about the coronavirus during a press briefing at the White House in Washington, D.C. Health and Human Services Secretary Alexander Azar (L) announced that the United States is declaring the virus a public health emergency and issued a federal quarantine order of 14 days for 195 Americans. Photo by Leigh Vogel/UPI | License Photo

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