March 16, 2007 -- Consumer prices rose by 0.4 percent in February, driven by higher energy and food prices, the Labor Department reported Friday.

Excluding food and energy, so-called core consumer prices rose just 0.2 percent following a 0.3 percent increase in January, the report said.

A recent survey of small-business owners found few businesses were passing higher labor costs on to consumers, according to the National Federation of Independent Business, a Washington-based lobby group.

Of 725 employers surveyed, just 13 percent reported higher selling prices in February, the group reported on Tuesday.

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