Consumer Price Index (CPI-U)
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Consumer Price Index (CPI-U)

The CPI-U or Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers is published monthly by the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor. It is a measure of the average change in consumer prices over time for a fixed market basket of goods and services, including food, clothing, shelter, fuels, transportation, charges for doctors' and dentists' services, and drugs.

The CPI-U or Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers is published monthly by the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor. It is a measure of the average change in consumer prices over time for a fixed market basket of goods and services, including food, clothing, shelter, fuels, transportation, charges for doctors' and dentists' services, and drugs.

In calculating the index, price changes for the various items are averaged together with weights that represent their importance in the spending of urban households in the United States. The contents of the market basket of goods and services and the weights assigned to the various items are updated periodically to take into account changes in consumer expenditure patterns. The CPI-U is expressed in relative terms in relation to a time base reference period (1982 - 1984) for which the level is set at 100. The CPI-U is now slightly over 212, indicating that prices of the market basket of goods have risen to slightly more than twice the level of the reference period.

The CPI-U for a particular month is released and published during the following month by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. In addition, the US Treasury issues a press release monthly that will provide the non-seasonally adjusted CPI-U for each of the prior three months.

In October 2008, the US quickly fell into a sharp deflationary environment. As a result, the CPI-U fell by 2.78% over the six month period through March 2009.

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