Wholesale prices up 1% in March, energy leads the way again

Wholesale prices jumped again in March pushed by another big increase in energy prices, the government reported Friday.

The Labor Department’s producer price index, which measures inflation before it reaches consumers, rose 1% in March, which follows last month’s 0.5% gain and a record jump of 1.3% in January.

Energy prices jumped 5.9%, the Labor Department said Friday. That follows increases of 6% last month, 5.1% in January and 4.7% in December.

Over the past year, wholesale prices are up 4.2%, the biggest jump since a 4.5% increase for the 12 months ending in September 2011.

Core inflation, which excludes volatile food and energy, rose 3.1% over the past 12 months, well past the Federal Reserve’s target of 2%.