Consumer Price Index
- Annual change since Jan 1999:
- Change in past 12 months:
|Food at home||8.187%||8.187%|
|Food away from home||5.704%||5.704%|
|New and used motor vehicles||5.815%||5.815%|
|Motor Vehicle maintenance/repair||1.594%||1.594%|
|Motor Vehicle insurance & fees||2.780%||2.78%|
|Medical care commodities||1.704%||1.704%|
|Medical care services||5.847%||5.847%|
|College tuition and fees||1.806%||1.806%|
|Elementary and high school tuition and fees||0.404%||0.404%|
|Child care and nursery school||0.839%||0.839%|
|Technology hardware, services, processing||4.038%||4.038%|
|Other goods and services||3.365%||3.365%|
The price-index simulator generates a curve showing you the monthly change in the Bureau of Labor’s consumer price index (CPI) since January 1999.
It allows you to compute a personalized index and to view its change, as well as to display the changes in the price indices of major product groups.
You can calculate a personalized index, and see the curve that plots its changes, by modifying the weights of each product group according to your personal consumption habits. We have chosen the categories that are displayed. There are many ways to slice the consumption basket; we simplified considerably along the lines that we expect most households would simplify. For example, under "Housing" the BLS drills down to different types of housing (owned or rented), utilities, and so on. We tried to balance the need for specificity with the need to have a manageable number of categories.
Click on the button "Your Personal Index" to display the window that lets you view and change the weights.
This window lists expenditure categories by product group. For each product group, it shows:
On the right-hand side of the window, sliding cursors let you choose the value for the weight of each product group, so that it best matches the percentage of these expenditures in your total budget.
For example, if you are non-smoker, you can set the "Tobacco" weight to zero; if you are a tenant and your rent accounts for 20% of your monthly expenditures, you can set the "Housing" weight to 20%.
If you underweight a category, the excess will initially go into "Other goods and services." If you overweight a category, the overweight will initially be limited to what is currently in "Other goods and services." In this way, "Other goods and services" is a placeholder category and cannot be individually set. If you have increased weights to the point where the "Other goods and services" weight has reached zero, you will not be able to increase a weight until you have reduced another.
To change a product-group weight, click on the corresponding dark gray cursor, then move the mouse to the right to increase the value, to the left to reduce it. As you move the mouse, the product group’s new weight is displayed in the right-hand column. When you release the mouse button, the personalized-index series is recalculated to take account of the new weight.
On the chart, the curve showing the monthly changes in your personalized index since January 1999 is plotted in light blue; the curve for the BLS consumer price index remains dark blue. When you shift a cursor, you change the weight of the product group concerned.
Under the slides, you will see two buttons: reset reinitializes the weights, in other words, it resets all your personalized weights in a single operation to the average values used in the CPI. You can thus start over again from the initial average weights if you have made too many changes on the sliding cursors. OK lets you close the weight-choice window to give you a better view of the two curves and, if you want, to display one by one the curves showing changes in the price index for each product group.
Using the previous group, Products group and next group buttons on the bottom-left part of the window, you can display the curves showing the changes in the price index for each product group. You will see that price changes are significantly different for major product groups, and that prices of certain product groups are subject to recurring seasonal movements.
When the curve for a product-group index is plotted, it replaces the curve of your personalized index. Use the previous group and next group buttons to glance through the curves showing the changes in the price indexes for each product group. Use the Products group button to select a product group from a scrolling list. If you have calculated a personalized index, you can display its curve again by choosing the "Your Personal Index" button.
Under the space where the curves are plotted, you will see two values displayed: On the left, the annual average change in the CPI index since January 1999. If you have calculated a personalized index by choosing your weights, this area will also display the average change in your personalized index; if, on the other hand, a product group is showing on the chart then this area will display the average change in the product group. On the right is displayed the change in the CPI index, as well as either your personalized index or the product group index, over the past 12 months.
In addition to the purely graphic display of index changes, you can obtain the display of the individual values of the indices plotted on the curves shown on the screen. When you move the mouse cursor toward a point on one of the curves, the point will be highlighted on the curve, and the relevant period (month and year) as well as the value of the index for that period will appear at the top, to the right of the curve title, in the same color as the curve. This feature works for all curves: the curve for the consumer price index, the curve for your personalized index, and the curve for each product group.