Food and housing costs rose sharply in March, but overall inflation remained low, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Tuesday.
The federal government's consumer price index rose 0.2% in March, a measurement that shows average price changes in goods and services purchased by Americans. In the last 12 months, overall core inflation -- excluding the volatile food and energy indexes -- rose 1.7%.
Recent drought and other extreme weather patterns have driven up the price of beef to all-time highs and that was reflected in the government's food index, which rose 0.4% in March, following an identical increase the month before.
It showed much steeper increases in certain food categories. The index for poultry, meats and eggs, for instance, showed a second consecutive increase of 1.2% last month.
The energy index, which includes gas prices, declined in March, falling 0.1%, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said.
The rental index showed an uptick of 0.3% in March, signaling higher rent prices. Over the last 12 months, the shelter index has increased 2.7%.