What is CPI, and what exactly does it measure?

Aug 10, 2020
The consumer price index can affect your next raise, and Social Security cost-of-living adjustments are tied to it.
A woman checks out her purchases at a grocery store in New Jersey. CPI tracks the monthly change in the cost of consumer goods and services.
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Post COVID-19, the Fed and the Feds will have to tread carefully

Aug 3, 2020
The nature of the economic crisis resulting from the pandemic means we know little about how to deal with its aftermath.
Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell, left, and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin greet each other after testifying before a House committee in June. For now, the Fed is more focused on keeping people employed than inflation.
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What's disinflation, and why does it matter?

Jul 30, 2020
Slowing inflation isn't as dangerous as prices dropping for a long period of time. But it's important to keep disinflation in check.
The menu of a ramen restaurant, for instance, can illustrate inflation, disinflation or deflation.
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Prices for U.S. consumers are up where it matters most

For things like groceries and gasoline, prices are actually up.
Inflation isn't entirely dead. Where it matters most, in the cost of food and the cost of energy, prices are going up.
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Falling producer price index fans fears of deflation

May 13, 2020
Prices of many goods are dropping as demand slows and people stay at home more. But does this mean deflation is here to stay?
A warehouse in China. Producer prices have softened as economic activity has slowed.
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Does measuring inflation matter during a pandemic?

May 12, 2020
How prices of many basic goods and services change usually tells us a lot about where the economy is headed.
A gas station in Los Angeles in March. CPI data shows gas prices fell more than 20% last month.
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Health care costs are driving up inflation

Feb 19, 2020
The latest producer price index was up 0.5% in January, mostly because of higher service costs, not more expensive goods.
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Trying to solve an inflation mystery

Jan 13, 2020
When prices for an item swing wildly up and down, they can drastically skew inflation measurements. A new index aims to rectify that.
Why would a decline in cellphone service plan prices affect inflation so drastically?
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Inflation: Maybe it's all in our heads

Dec 13, 2019
It's possible that prices aren't rising much because we don't expect prices to rise much.
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Why is inflation still so low?

With the lowest unemployment rate in 50 years, wages — and prices — should be rising faster than they are.
One reason inflation is so low might be globalization.
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