Consumer prices in the metropolitan area edged up last month compared with a year ago because of higher costs for housing and mass transit.
The federal Bureau of Labor Statistics Tuesday reported its consumer price index for the 31-county region that includes Long Island climbed 1.9 percent in March compared with a year earlier.
It was the smallest increase, year over year, since October's 1.7-percent rise.
The cost of housing was up 2.3 percent from March 2012, driven largely by rents rising 3.5 percent, according to the bureau's chief regional economist Martin Kohli.
Gasoline was down 1.3 percent, year over year.
Grocery prices rose 1.5 percent as consumers paid more for bacon, soup, snacks, cakes and cookies.