1. CPI represents the spending patterns for almost all consumers and workers in our population. The ‘urban consumer’ group alone, accounts for 87 percent of the total U.S. population. It is based on the expenditures of almost all residents of urban or metropolitan areas. In publishing the CPI, we have a more accurate measurement of inflation/deflation. This represents the current buying power of the US dollar in terms of international trade. This number affects any consumer or producer in our market, as we function as a society in a global scale. Changing inflation, which is really what the CPI is a measure of—affects all of us. Therefore we all should be interested in this statistic, if we have any interest the functionality of our own money.
2. This statistic is collected by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. This organization provides monthly data on the changes in price for consumers to purchase goods and services. At the national level, the CPI is released on a continuous monthly basis. While this varies to some degree for some cities, a new CPI is generally available everywhere within a 2 month period.
The CPI represents all of the goods and services purchased for consumption by the general population. By consistently evaluating the price levels of numerous pre-priced items in our society, one can better recognize any changes if ever they should occur.
3. The national CPI as of November 2010 was 218.803. Since the year of 2000, this value has gone up about 5 points every year in its yearly-average. However, this index peaked in 2007 during the financial crisis, where it went up 10 points all the way to an index of 219. It has since fluctuated, but seems to be close to this point yet again.
The CPI stands as one of the most important indices when it comes to measuring notions of ‘price’ in our economy.