Saturday, May 17, 2014

One hundred years of price change: the Consumer Price Index and the American inflation experience

The year 2013 marked, in a sense, the 100th anniversary of the Consumer Price Index (CPI), because 1913 is the first year for which official CPI data became available. For 100 years, the index has been a major measure of consumer inflation in the U.S. economy, through war and peace, booms and recessions. Over those 100 years, the general public and policymakers have focused almost constantly on inflation; they have feared it, bemoaned it, sought it, and even tried to whip it. Different subperiods saw different trends in price movement, so each generation of Americans had a different experience of price change from the ones before and after it. This article looks at major trends in price change from one subperiod to the next and at how Americans and their leaders regarded those trends and reacted to them.

More from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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