The numbers: U.S. wholesale prices jumped 0.5% in April in another sign of sticky inflation.

Economists polled by the Wall Street Journal had forecast a smaller 0.3% increase in the producer price index.

Wholesale costs often foretell future inflation trends. The increase in wholesale prices over the past 12 months rose to 2.2% in April from 1.8% in the prior month and hit the highest level in a year.

A separate measure of wholesale prices that strips out volatile food and energy costs and trade margins climbed 0.4% last month, the government said. That was twice as much as expected.

The increase in these so-called core prices over the past year rose to 3.1% from 2.8%. It had fallen to as low as 2.5% last fall.

The Federal Reserve views the core rate as a better predictor of future inflation.

The PPI report captures what companies pay for supplies such as fuel, packaging and so forth. These costs are often passed on to customers at the retail level and give an idea of whether inflation is rising or falling.

Big picture: The rate of inflation appears to have gotten stuck well above the Federal Reserve’s 2% annual goal, keeping the central bank from cutting interest rates.

The Fed could still cut rates later this year — offering relief to home buyers and other borrowers — if inflation resumes a downward trend. For now it’s still an open question.