Consumer prices rose faster than expected in March, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Tuesday.
The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) increased 0.2 percent in March and for the year, prices are up 1.5 percent. The index excluding food and shelter prices also rose by the same amount in March.
The increase in headline inflation number was driven by food and housing costs. Shelter costs were up 0.3 percent as the real estate market continues to rebound.
Economists surveyed by Marketwatch had expected an overall 0.1 percent increase in March.
Energy costs declined in March, BLS reported.
The higher-than-expected inflation comes as the Senate prepares early next month to debate increasing the national minimum wage to $10.10 per hour.
The Wall Street Journal notes that the inflation rate overall remains low due to weak economic growth and that it is still below the 2 percent target eyed by the Federal Reserve.