U.S. Consumer Price Indexes

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Volume 30 – U.S. Consumer Price Indexes

Using the new Comparable Growth Scale format, Volume 30 depicts annual growth rates of the seven major groups of the U.S. CPI (as compiled by the Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics) along with 21 sub-groups and four aggregate indexes. This first group of charts shows how much inflation each area has experienced.

Sixteen of the indexes are also shown relative to the CPI. This last group of charts shows whether prices in that area are experiencing more or less inflation than the economy as a whole.

Seven major groups with 21 sub-groups (annual rates of change, or inflation rate)
Food and beverages, Food, Food at home, Food away from home, 1945
Housing, Shelter, Fuel and other utilities, Household furnishings, 1954
Apparel and upkeep, Apparel commodities, Men's and boys', Women's and girls' 1947
Transportation, Private transportation, Public transportation, New cars 1948
Medical care, Medical care commodities, Medical care services, Prescription drugs 1947
Entertainment, Entertainment commodities, Entertainment services, Reading materials 1968
Other goods and services, Personal care, Tuition and other school fees, Legal service fees 1948

Chart V30c, Comparable Growth of Apparel and three sub-categories (4kb GIF) This chart (V30c) compares the annual growth rates (inflation rates) of the major group, Apparel and upkeep and three of its subgroups.

Even on this low-resolution thumbnail, you can see that Women's and girls' apparel (bottom line) pricing is more volatile than Men's and boys' apparel.

This is a 4kb thumbnail!
It would take
over sixty full SVGA screens to show the detail on one Topline chart.

The real charts look much better than these thumbnails.

Adobe Acrobat PDF file (54kb)
This file is a 600 dot per inch rendering of the March 1997 V30c chart (thumbnail above). The actual charts have the edition and chart number printed in the margin (between the holes for the three ring binder).

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Four aggregate indexes (annual rates of change, or inflation rate)
All items less food, All items less food and energy, All items less medical care, Energy 1942

Relative to CPI (rising line means prices rising faster than overall inflation)
These Comparable Growth Scale charts show the ratio of a BLS index (for example, Medical Care) to the overall US CPI.
Drawing these ratios on a Comparable Growth Scale chart means that the scale on these charts is significant. The direction of the line tells you whether the index is rising faster or slower than the CPI at that time. The level of the line tells you whether the index has risen more or less than the CPI from 1982-4 to present. A +20% reading on one of these charts means that the index has grown 20% more than the CPI since the 1982-4 base period.

Medical care, Other goods and services, Energy, Apparel and upkeep 1965
Housing, Transportation, Food and beverage, Entertainment 1965
Medical care services, Public transportation, Reading materials, Food away from home 1985
Tuition and other school fees, Prescription drugs, Legal service fees, New cars 1985
The seven major groups are listed in bold type.

Did you know that Tuition and other school fees have risen over 70% more than the CPI since the 1982-4 base period?

Are Medical care costs rising faster or slower than the CPI?
You may be suprised by the answer...

Note: the first date is the beginning of the chart. At least one series on each chart goes back that far. Some of the data series may start later than that.

This volume alone presents 48 data series on twelve charts!

This volume was introduced in the March 1997 edition.

Volume 29

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Last modified: April 06, 2005