US consumer prices jumped in April by a seasonally adjusted 0.4 per cent, the largest one-month increase in more than three years, the federal Bureau of Labour Statistics said Tuesday.
The clear sign of strengthening inflation comes with the rate-setting US Federal Reserve looking for rising price pressures as it weighs whether to continue tightening monetary policy.
The central bank's dual mandate is to encourage full employment and price stability. The US jobless rate is near a 10-year low of 5 per cent, while inflation has been largely dormant, well below the Fed's longer-term target of 2 per cent.
For the last 12 months, US prices rose 1.1 per cent.
Excluding volatile food and energy prices, so-called core inflation was 0.2 per cent last month, and 2.1 per cent for the last 12 months.
The Federal Reserve is due to issue its next monetary policy decision on June 15.
The Fed's monetary policy committee on April 27 left its benchmark interest rate unchanged at a range of 0.25 to 0.5 per cent. The rate was hiked in December from an unprecedented near-zero level in place since the 2008 financial crisis.
"In light of the current shortfall of inflation from 2 per cent, the committee will carefully monitor actual and expected progress toward its inflation goal," the Fed said in a statement on monetary policy after its last meeting on April 27.