Recent and upcoming methodology changes

Average prices

With April 2018 data, BLS discontinued publication of 33 average price series and introduced 5 new average price series. See tables below for details. (posted February 14, 2018)

Physicians' services

With the release of April 2018 data, CPI began using the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey produced by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality to adjust the weights of payer types included in the physicians’ services index. The resulting index better reflects current market weights by increasing the share of payments covered by private insurance relative to payments made by uninsured people and payments covered by Medicare Part B. Additional information on this process is available at Measuring Price Change in the CPI: Medical care (updated May 10, 2018)

Smartphones

With April 2018 data, directed substitution is employed for smartphones in order to bring the CPI sample of smartphones more in line with what consumers are purchasing. Directed substitution is based on statistics on how often consumers upgrade their smartphones and takes place approximately twice a year to coincide with new hardware releases from manufacturers. (posted March 7, 2018)

With January 2018 data, smartphones, which are part of the telephone hardware, calculators, and other consumer information items index, are quality adjusted to account for the rapid rate of technological advancements and improved quality to customers. Additional information on the process is available at Measuring Price Change in the CPI: Telephone hardware, calculators, and other consumer information items. (posted January 2, 2018)

Used cars and trucks

With January 2018 data, the Consumer Price Index for used cars and trucks has changed from a three-month moving average to a single month price change. This modification will result in an index that reflects price change closer to the reference period.Additional information on the process is available at Measuring Price Change in the CPI: Used cars and trucks(posted November 21, 2017)

Table 1. Discontinued average price series.
Item code Item label Last publication date

702611

Salted soda crackers October 2000

703312

USDA round roast July 2014

703431

USDA short ribs, bone-in May 2011

703612

USDA sirloin steak (1) June 2017

704321

Canned ham, pear shaped can, 3-5 lbs. November 1992

704413

Pork shoulder picnic, bone-in December 1997

704421

Fresh pork sausage, breakfast style, loose September 2002

705141

Beef liver January 2000

705142

USDA lamb and mutton, bone-in January 1994

709111

Whole fortified milk, sold at store, per half-gallon December 1997

709212

Low-fat milk, sold at store, per half-gallon September 1992

709213

Low-fat milk, sold at store, per gallon October 2002

710111

Butter, creamy, salted, grade AA, stick, sold at store April 2012

710122

Natural yogurt, fruit flavored, sold at store, per 8 oz. March 2003

711312

Oranges, Valencia August 2013

712401

Cabbage October 2012

712402

Celery, excluding celery hearts October 2012

712403

Carrots, short trimmed or topped March 2014

712404

Dried onions, yellow varieties March 2014

712405

Green onions (scallions) January 2000

712407

Corn on the cob June 1988

712408

Radishes June 1988

712409

Cucumbers April 2000

712410

Green snap beans January 2000

712411

Mushrooms January 2000

713311

Apple sauce December 1997

713312

Canned peaches December 1997

714111

Frozen French fried potatoes December 2004

714232

Canned tomatoes December 1997

716114

Margarine, stick May 2014

717113

Cola drinks, except diet, cans, 10-13.5 oz., 6 pack February 1992

717327

Coffee, instant plain, regular, all sizes, per lb. September 2003

717114

Cola, nondiet, per 2 liters January 2000

Footnotes:
(1) This series was not published October 2013 through May 2017.
 

Table 2. New average price series.
Item code Item label

FN1101

All soft drinks, 2 liter

FN1102

All soft drinks, 12 ounce, 12 pack

FJ1101

Milk, low-fat, reduced fat, skim, gallon container

FJ4101

Yogurt, per 8 ounce

FS1101

Butter, in sticks, per pound