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CPI: CONSUMER PRICE INDEX

  • Importance (A-F): This release merits a B+.
  • Source: Bureau of Labor statistics, U.S. Department of Labor.
  • Release Time: 8:30 ET, about the 13th of each month for the prior month.
  • Raw Data Available At: http://stats.bls.gov/news.release/cpi.toc.htm.

The Consumer Price Index is a measure of the price level of a fixed market basket of goods and services purchased by consumers. CPI is the most widely cited inflation indicator, and it is used to calculate cost of living adjustments for government programs and it is the basis of COLAs for many private labor agreements as well. It has been criticized for overstating inflation, because it does not adjust for substitution effects and because the fixed basket does not reflect price changes in new technology goods which are often declining in price. Despite these criticisms, it remains the benchmark inflation index.

CPI can be greatly influenced in any given month by a movement in volatile food and energy prices. Therefore, it is important to look at CPI excluding food and energy, commonly called the "core rate" of inflation. Within the core rate, some of the more volatile and closely watched components are apparel, tobacco, airfares, and new cars. In addition to tracking the month/month changes in core CPI, the year/year change in core CPI is seen by most economists as the best measure of the underlying inflation rate.


U.S. KEY ECONOMIC INDICATORS
Auto and Truck Sales
Business Inventories
Chicago PMI
Conference Board Consumer Confidence
Construction Spending
Consumer Credit
CPI: Consumer Price Index
Durable Goods Orders
Employment Cost Index
Existing Home Sales
Export/Import Prices
Factory Orders
GDP: Gross Domestic Product
Housing Starts and Building Permits
Industrial Production
Initial Claims
International Trade
Leading Indicators
Money Supply
NAPM: National Association of Purchasing Managers
New Home Sales
Non-Manufacturing NAPM
Personal Income and Consumption
Philadelphia Fed Index
PPI: Producer Price Index
Productivity and Costs
Regional Manufacturing Surveys
Retail Sales
The Employment Report
Treasury Budget
University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index
Weekly Chain Store Sales
Wholesale Trade
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