In CPI Up 0.1 Percent: How Much is the CPI Understated? I disputed the BLS’s year-over-year overall inflation figure of 2.1%, specifically citing housing and the cost of health insurance.
I found the reported food increase reasonable, others didn’t. Whether or not you find the food index believable depends on two things.
- What you buy
- How you shop
Reader AWC pointed out this BLS article from March of 2017: Prices for meats, poultry, fish, and eggs down 7 percent since August 2015 peak.
I downloaded the data and started plugging in numbers for December 2017. The index numbers did not match, so I called the BLS. The person directed me to data downloads which I also found on my own. I still could not match the downloaded numbers.
What happened is the data for the the preceding chart was indexed to 2007 but the main index is to 1982.
I asked the BLS agent for year-over-year increases of items and the percentages matched.
CPI Select Food Items
I calculated all but the last row from the March article after verifying percentages with the BLS. The last row was read to me over the phone.
I created the main graph from the above chart.
How Do You Shop?
Your percentages may vary substantially from the above chart.
Mine are cheaper because I buy items on sale and freeze them. Sale prices fluctuate less than non-sale prices.
Properly wrapped food will last a year or more.
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