United States - Consumer Price Index (CPI)

Consumer prices increased slightly less in August than either we or the consensus projected. The headline CPI's 0.3% m/m gain marks the slowest increase since February, while the core CPI grew by an even weaker 0.1% m/m. On a year-over-year basis, the core CPI rose by 4%. Price growth decelerated in all major components except energy.





United States: Consumer Price Index (CPI)

Mnemonic CPI.IUSA
Unit Index 1982-84=100, SA
Adjustments Seasonally Adjusted
Monthly 0.28 %
Data Aug 2021 273.01
Jul 2021 272.26

Series Information

Source U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)
Release Consumer Price Index (CPI)
Frequency Monthly
Start Date 1/31/1947
End Date 8/31/2021

United States: Price

Reference Last Previous Units Frequency
Consumer Price Index (CPI) Aug 2021 273.01 272.26 Index 1982-84=100, SA Monthly
Producer Price Index (PPI) Aug 2021 223.2 221 Index 1982=100, SA Monthly
Wholesale Price Index 2016 100.37 103.09 Index 2010 = 100 Annual

Consumer Price Index (CPI) Definition

The consumer price index (CPI) is a measure of the average change over time in the prices paid by urban consumers for a fixed market basket of consumer goods and services from A to Z. The CPI provides a way for consumers to compare what the market basket of goods and services costs this month with what the same market basket cost a month or a year ago. The CPI reflects spending patterns for each of two population groups: all urban consumers (CPI-U) and urban wage earners and clerical workers (CPI-W). The CPI-U represents about 80% of the total U.S. population. The CPI represents all goods and services purchased for consumption by urban households. It reports price changes in over 200 categories, arranged into eight major groups. The CPI includes various user fees such as water and sewerage charges, auto registration fees, vehicle tolls, and so forth. Taxes that are directly associated with the prices of specific goods and services (such as sales and excise taxes) are also included. But the CPI excludes taxes not directly associated with the purchase of consumer goods and services (such as income and Social Security taxes). Each month, the Bureau of Labor Statistics surveys retail establishments throughout the U.S. and gathers price information on thousands of items. These items are then put into one of the 200 expenditure categories, and by weighting them by their importance, price changes in the categories can be estimated. These categories are then weighted by their importance and further aggregations are done until an overall CPI number is produced. Cautionary note: All of the CPI measures discussed in this release are seasonally adjusted. However, other news sources such as Bloomberg and the WSJ frequently cite the top-line inflation rate for the unadjusted CPI index, which is included in BLS announcements. This can result in occasional confusion, especially on the rare occasions when the unadjusted CPI increases while the seasonally adjusted CPI decreases, or vice versa.


Release Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports monthly consumer price indices (CPI) for the United States. CPI measures the change in prices paid by consumers for goods and services. Figures are reported using various bases, both seasonally adjusted (SA) and not seasonally adjusted (NSA).

The BLS reports CPI for two different population groups:

  1. Urban consumers (CPI-U): all residents of the urban or metropolitan areas which include professionals, self-employed, the poor, the unemployed, retirees, and urban wage earners and clerical worker. This group represents approximately 94% of the total U.S. population. Those not included in this group are those living in rural nonmetroplitan areas, farming families, Armed Forces and those in institutions (prisons and mental hospitals).
  2. Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W): all households that meet the following requirements: more than one half of the household's income comes from clerical or wage occupations AND at least one of the household's earners have been employed for at least 37 weeks during the previous 12 months. This group represents approximately 28% of the total U.S. population and is a subset of urban consumers.

Data is collected each month in 75 urban areas in the United States. There are about 5,000 housing units and 22,000 retail establishments sampled. Taxes associated with the purchase of goods or services are included in the price and index. Data is typically collected by personal visits or phone calls by BLS representatives.

The index is calculated by aggregation and using weights for each items in a specific location. The weights represent their importance in the spending for each population group. Localized data is then combined to calulcate a U.S. city average. 

Area indexes do not measure differences in the level of prices among cities; they only measure the average change in prices for each area since the base period.

The indexes have a base of 1982-84=100, unless otherwise noted.  This means that the average of the monthly index values is 100 over the 36 months in 1982 through 1984.  An index represents the relative change over time since a base period.  For example, an index of 120 denotes an increase of 20%, and 75 is a decrease of 25%.

There are various base periods in this data set depending on the type of good or service and geographical area. The base periods used are: Oct1967=100, Jan1978=100, Feb1978=100, Apr1978=100, Nov1977=100, Dec1977=100, 1982-84=100, Nov1982=100, Dec1982=100, Dec1983=100, Nov1984=100, Dec1986=100, Dec1988=100, Nov1996=100, Dec1996=100, Nov1997=100, Dec1997=100, Dec2005, Dec2007=100, Dec2009=100, or Dec2017=100 indices.

Geographies use CBSA delineations based on the 2010 Census. Geographic coverage includes 23 metros, all 9 divisions, all 4 regions, and 10 class-sizes (population groups by area).

Seasonally adjusted data are computed using seasonal factors derived by the X-13ARIMA-SEATS seasonal adjustment method. Factors are updated each February. Updated factors are used to revise the previous 5 years of seasonally adjusted data.

Frequency

  • Prices of fuels are obtained each month in all 75 areas. 
  • Commodity and services prices are reported each month for the three largest CBSA mertro geographic areas (Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI, New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA, and Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA).
  • National, Regional, and Divisional level data is updated monthly.
  • All other CBSA metros are reported bimonthly (varies even/odd month for each geo). See Table 2: https://www.bls.gov/cpi/additional-resources/geographic-revision-2018.htm

Geographies

Area Name Geo Code Frequency
U.S. City Average IUSA Monthly
     
Northeast Census Region CNER Monthly 
Midwest Census Region CNCR Monthly 
Southern Census Region CSOR Monthly 
Western Census Region CWER Monthly 
     
New England Census Division CNEC Monthly 
Middle Atlantic Census Division CMAC Monthly 
East North Central Census Division CENC Monthly 
West North Central Census Division CWNC Monthly 
South Atlantic Census Division CSAC Monthly 
East South Central Census Division CESC Monthly 
West South Central Census Division CWSC Monthly 
Mountain Census Division CMTN Monthly 
Pacific Census Division CPAC Monthly 
     
Boston-Cambridge-Newton, MA-NH IUSA_MBOS Bimonthly
New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA IUSA_MNEY Monthly
Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD IUSA_MPHI Bimonthly
Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI IUSA_MCHI Monthly
Detroit-Warren-Dearborn, MI IUSA_MDET Bimonthly
Minneapolis-St.Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI IUSA_MMIN Bimonthly
St. Louis, MO-IL IUSA_MSTL Bimonthly
Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV IUSA_MWAS Bimonthly
Baltimore-Columbia-Towson, MD IUSA_MBAL Bimonthly 
Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach, FL IUSA_MMIA Bimonthly 
Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, GA IUSA_MATL Bimonthly 
Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL IUSA_MTAM Bimonthly 
Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX IUSA_MDAL Bimonthly 
Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX IUSA_MHOU Bimonthly 
Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, AZ IUSA_MPHO Bimonthly 
Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO IUSA_MDEN Bimonthly 
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA IUSA_MLOS Monthly
Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA IUSA_MRIV Bimonthly
San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA IUSA_MSAF Bimonthly
Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA IUSA_MSEA Bimonthly
San Diego-Carlsbad, CA IUSA_MSAN Bimonthly
Urban Hawaii IUSA_MHON Bimonthly
Urban Alaska IUSA_MANC Bimonthly
     
BLS size class B/C CTY_BC Population: 2,500,000 or less
Northeast - Size Class B/C CNER_BC  
Midwest - Size Class B/C CNCR_BC  
South - Size Class B/C CSOR_BC  
West - Size Class B/C CWER_BC  
BLS size class A CTY_A Population: more than 2,500,000
Northeast - Size Class A CNER_A  
Midwest - Size Class A CNCR_A  
South- Size Class A CSOR_A  
West - Size Class A CWER_A  

Revisions occur when expenditure weights are updated.

Prior to the release of January data, the source revises seasonal adjustment factors. During this update, data for the previous five years are revised. Note from BLS:

"The Consumer Price Index (CPI) produces both unadjusted and seasonally adjusted data. Seasonally adjusted data are computed using seasonal factors derived by the X-13ARIMA-SEATS Seasonal Adjustment Method. These factors are updated with the release of January data in February and reflect price movements from the previous calendar year. The new factors are used to revise the previous 5 years of seasonally adjusted data; older seasonally adjusted indexes are considered to be final."