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.

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.

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

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.

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

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