The Federal Reserve’s preferred gauge of underlying inflation cooled last month while household spending rebounded.

The so-called core personal consumption expenditures price index, which strips out the volatile food and energy components, increased 0.3% from the prior month, data out Friday showed. That followed a 0.5% reading in January, marking the biggest back-to-back gain in a year.

Fed officials may take comfort in a tame increase in a narrower gauge of services inflation within the report. At the same time, inflation-adjusted consumer spending exceeded all estimates on the heels of the biggest gain in wages in over a year, according to the report from the Bureau of Economic Analysis.

The core PCE data, on a six-month annualized basis, accelerated to 2.9%, the fastest since July. And the end of last year, it briefly slipped below the Fed’s 2% target.

The cooler reading is a welcome reprieve after other measures of inflation showed price pressures intensified at the start of the year. Even so, Fed officials are looking for more evidence that inflation is sustainably on a downward trend, and in the meantime, they’re not rushing to cut interest rates.

Chair Jerome Powell, who is speaking later Friday, has stressed the need for patience, saying the timing of the first rate cut would be “highly consequential.” Policymakers will have access to one more PCE report, as well as others on consumer and producer prices as well as employment, before their next meeting starts on April 30.

US stock and bond markets are closed in observance of Good Friday.

Officials pay close attention to services inflation excluding housing and energy, which tends to be more sticky. That metric stepped down to 0.2% from a month ago after a 0.7% surge in January, according to the BEA. Health care and financial services registered much smaller increases than in the prior month.

This article was provided by Bloomberg News.