Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Monthly Consumer Price Index (CPI) updated

The Consumer Price Indexes (CPI) program produces monthly data on changes in the prices paid by urban consumers for a representative basket of goods and services.

There is no CPI data specific to Utah, so national data is relied upon for this page.

For monthly and annual CPI data see here.

The CPI frequently is called a cost-of-living index, but it differs in important ways from a complete cost-of-living measure. The Bureau of Labor Statistics has for some time used a cost-of-living framework in making practical decisions about questions that arise in constructing the CPI. A cost-of-living index is a conceptual measurement goal, however, and not a straightforward alternative to the CPI.

A cost-of-living index would measure changes over time in the amount that consumers need to spend to reach a certain utility level or standard of living. Both the CPI and a cost-of-living index would reflect changes in the prices of goods and services, such as food and clothing that are directly purchased in the marketplace; but a complete cost-of-living index would go beyond this role to also take into account changes in other governmental or environmental factors that affect consumers' well-being.

It is very difficult to determine the proper treatment of public goods, such as safety and education, and other broad concerns, such as health, water quality, and crime, that would constitute a complete cost-of-living framework.

For more FAQs about CPI, see the BLS website.

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