A new experimental consumer price index
June 28, 2006
BLS has introduced an experimental consumer price index for the U.S. that follows, to the extent possible, the methods of the Harmonized Index of Consumer Prices (HICP), which is the European Union's official price index.
The U.S. HICP differs from the U.S. Consumer Price Index (CPI) in two major respects. First, the HICP includes the rural population in its scope. Second, and probably more importantly, the HICP excludes owner-occupied housing, in part because the methods for measuring price changes for owner-occupied housing are controversial in theory and difficult to achieve consensus on in practice.
To construct the experimental U.S. HICP, the CPI first was expanded to cover the entire (noninstitutional) U.S. population and then was narrowed to remove the owner-occupied housing costs that the HICP excludes from its scope.
The chart compares a specially constructed measure of U.S. inflation that covers both rural and urban areas (CPI-XT) with a new experimental measure, the U.S. HICP. The measures are relatively similar in the period shown, which may reflect the fact that the period was one of comparatively mild inflation.
These data are from the BLS Consumer Price Index program. To learn more, see "Comparing U.S. and European inflation: the CPI and the HICP," by Walter Lane and Mary Lynn Schmidt, Monthly Labor Review, May 2006. Percent changes in chart are December to December.
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, A new experimental consumer price index on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2006/jun/wk4/art03.htm (visited August 28, 2015).
Recent editions of Spotlight on Statistics
New estimates of personal taxes in Consumer Expenditure Survey
In 2013, the Consumer Expenditure Survey improved its personal tax data.
Trends in long-term unemployment
Long-term unemployment reached historically high levels following the recession of 2007–2009.
Housing: before, during, and after the Great Recession
looks at consumer expenditures on household items, employment in residential construction, prices for household items, and injuries in occupations involved in building and maintaining our homes.