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Effects of COVID-19 Pandemic and Response on the U.S. Import and Export Price Indexes

The U.S. Import and Export Price Indexes survey publishes indexes that measure average price movements for imports to the United States and exports from the United States on a monthly basis. If you have questions, contact the staff for Import and Export Price Indexes.


The Import/Export Price program collects nearly all of its data by web collection. There were no changes to collection made in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Response Rates

The impact of the pandemic on Import and Export Price Index data has been relatively minor. Response rates for the monthly import prices and export prices are available at Household and Establishment Survey Response Rates. The response rates are the percent of prices requested from respondents that were used in estimating the initial publication of a given month. These response rates are maintained by the BLS Office of Survey Methods Research (OSMR) and differ slightly from the response rates reported on the monthly COVID-19 impact reports below. The OSMR response rates exclude secondary source data, whereas the COVID-19 response rate reports included them. Note that the Import and Export Price Indexes are revised in each of the 3 months after initial publication and that response rates improve as more data are subsequently collected.

Index Suppression

All published indexes are reviewed monthly to ensure they meet quality standards. An index is suppressed for publication when it does not meet quality standards. Publication quality is evaluated monthly and annually. Each month, the number of respondents contacted and prices requested vary. These changes occur as the market basket is updated monthly to add new representative items and exclude items no longer traded and as respondents establish different schedules to report price changes. Information on the data collection process provides metrics to evaluate the number and representative share of prices that support index quality. Published indexes ensure confidentiality of respondents, sample representativeness, and robustness of coverage for items and companies.

The top-level price indexes continue to be representative of total trade. Detailed indexes are more likely to be suppressed. If the number of prices collected is insufficient to support index publication, the index’s publication is suppressed for the month(s) that insufficient price data are collected.

A handful of indexes had to be suppressed because of the pandemic starting with the April 2020 release. In 2020, 20 indexes had to be suppressed at some point during the year, and only one index needed to be suppressed in 2021. To see which indexes were suppressed for a specific month please refer to the specific monthly report below.

Changes to Methods

There were no changes to estimation methodology for the release of U.S. Import and Export Price Indexes.

Import and Export Price Indexes COVID-19 Impact Summaries

Last Modified Date: February 16, 2022