The consumer price index climbed 0.2% in March after increasing 0.1% the prior month, a Labor Department report showed April 15.
The median forecast of 82 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News called for a 0.1% rise. Over the past 12 months, costs rose 1.5%.
The core gauge, which excludes volatile food and fuel costs, also rose 0.2% in March after climbing 0.1% the previous month. Economists had forecast a 0.1% gain, according to the survey median.
The increase in overall consumer prices over the past 12 months followed a 1.1% year-over-year gain in February that was the smallest since October.
The core CPI climbed 1.7% from March 2013 after a 1.6% advance in the prior 12-month period.
The CPI is the broadest of three price gauges from the Labor Department because it includes goods and services. About 60% of the index covers prices consumers pay for services from medical visits to airline fares, movie tickets and rents.