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Collection of Consumer Price Index detailed price information

Thursday, November 14, 2013

At 8:30 A.M. next Wednesday, November 20, BLS will release October’s Consumer Price Index (CPI), which is one of our most widely followed economic indicators. Although I have a particular reason to talk about it this month, the CPI is always important. Its movements affect nearly every American in some way. The CPI is used to adjust benefit levels for Social Security, military and civilian retirement plans, and many other government programs. The CPI also is used to adjust income tax brackets and payments in many types of private contracts, such as lease agreements and labor contracts. Businesses, labor organizations, and individuals use the CPI to help them make economic decisions. The President, Congress, and Federal Reserve System examine trends in the CPI to aid them in formulating fiscal and monetary policy. With so many things affected by movements in the CPI, I think it’s important for people to understand how BLS collects the information used to calculate the overall CPI and all the other indexes for the goods and services that consumers purchase. I’m pleased to call your attention to an article published in The Washington Post this week about the professionalism and attention to detail of our staff members who carefully collect the detailed price information that goes into the CPI each month. I hope you enjoy the article and join me in being profoundly grateful that so many skilled and dedicated employees choose to work here at BLS.