5 things to know about the Consumer Price Index

Inflation shows up at the grocery store, the gas station, in car lots and a whole lot of other places.

The federal government measures the impact of inflation on consumers using the Consumer Price Index, which in January rose 7.5% compared to January 2021, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Credit: Alexis Larsen

Credit: Alexis Larsen

Here are five things to know about about that index:

1. It measures the changing average cost of an established basket of consumer goods and services.

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2. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics publishes the CPI monthly, showing spending patterns for two population groups: all urban consumers and urban wage earners and clerical workers, which together represent about 93 percent of the population.

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3. The CPI is based on prices for food, shelter, clothing, fuels, transportation, medical services, drugs and other goods and services people use.

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4. The baseline for the index is the 1982-1984 period, when the index was set at 100. The unadjusted index in January 2022 was 281.148, according to the BLS.

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5. The items that have increased most in price since January 2021 include gasoline, fuel oil and used cars.

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