October 24, 2006
A new table, to be updated monthly, uses the methods of the European Union’s Harmonized Index of Consumer Prices (HICP) to compare inflation rates of all G7 countries except Canada. (A comparable Canadian index is not available at this time.)
These harmonized indexes provide a better basis for international comparisons of inflation than the national CPI data published by each country because the methods and concepts used are more standardized across countries than those used in national CPIs.
For the United States, HICP data are an experimental series prepared by the Bureau of Labor Statistics; for Japan, data are published by the Japanese Statistics Bureau; and for the European Union countries, data are based on the monthly HICP series published by the Statistical Office of the European Communities (EUROSTAT).
The table is compiled by the BLS Foreign Labor Statistics program. The U.S. data are prepared by the BLS Consumer Price Index program. Additional information, including the new data table, is available in "Harmonized index of consumer prices for selected countries and areas. "Further information on the HICP can be found in "Comparing U.S. and European inflation: the CPI and the HICP," by Walter Lane and Mary Lynn Schmidt, Monthly Labor Review, May 2006.