The prices U.S. companies receive for their goods and services rose by the most in seven months in April, led by more expensive food and higher retail and wholesale profit margins.

The Labor Department says the producer price index rose 0.6 percent last month, after a 0.5 percent increase in March. The gains suggest that inflation is picking up from very low levels: In the past 12 months, producer prices have increased 2.1 percent, the biggest 12-month gain in more than two years.

That figure is just above the Federal Reserve's 2 percent inflation target. The producer price index measures price changes before they reach the consumer.

Food costs jumped 2.7 percent, the highest in more than three years, driven by an 8.4 percent increase in meat prices.