CONSUMER PRICES RISE: Consumer prices rose 0.3 percent last month, the Labor Department said Friday. Core prices, which exclude volatile food and energy costs, increased just 0.2 percent.
GAS PRICES SLOW: Gas prices rose more slowly. They gained 1.7 percent in March, down from February's 6 percent increase. In the past week, the national average price per gallon fell 4 cents, to $3.90 on Friday.
INFLATION MILD: Core prices have risen just 2.3 percent in the past 12 months. Mild inflation leaves consumers with more money to spend and gives the Fed more leeway to keep interest rates low.