But the news was not uniformly bad: A measure that strips out volatile food and fuel prices decelerated slightly from February as used car prices swooned. Economists and policymakers took that as a sign that inflation in goods might be starting to cool off after climbing at a breakneck pace for much of the past year.
In fact, several economists said March may be a high-water mark for overall inflation. Price increases could begin abating in the coming months in part because gasoline prices have declined somewhat — the national average for a gallon was $4.10 on Tuesday, according to AAA, down from a $4.33 peak in March. Some researchers also expect consumers to stop buying so many goods, whether furniture or outdoor equipment, which could begin to take pressure off overtaxed supply chains.