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Consumer Price Index

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The Consumer Price Index, also known as the CPI, is released monthly by the US Department of Labor. It measures the price changes in a fixed basket of consumer goods in an attempt to measure economic inflation. A Consumer Price Index reading that excludes volatile food and energy prices (core CPI) is also published monthly. The basket of goods and services used to calculate the Consumer Price Index includes medical services and drugs, food, energy, recreation, clothing, education, housing and communications. The Consumer Price Index is widely viewed as a leading economic indicator. Cost of living adjustments in programs such as Social Security are based on the Consumer Price Index. GDP calculations also use the Consumer Price Index as an input. Because of its wide implications, the Consumer Price Index can affect interest rates and foreign exchange rates.



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