BLS Information

Why is the CPI being released before the PPI in some months this year?

Historically, the publication of the PPI release in any given month has generally — but not universally — preceded that of the CPI.

Improvements to the data collection process introduced into the CPI program in recent years have shifted the timetable for producing the CPI relative to the PPI. Specifically, the deployment of penpad computers to BLS field data collectors permits them to transmit newly-collected data directly to headquarters in Washington for analysis and review. This replaces a longstanding procedure in which data collectors filled out paper forms in the field and mailed them to Washington. The new process also eliminates the need for manual data entry that had existed once the paper forms were received in Washington.

These improvements mean it will not be atypical from now on for CPI news releases to be issued prior to the PPI release for that month. In fact, the CPI is scheduled to be published prior to the PPI in four months of 2005 (July, August, October, and December). See the 2005 release schedule for BLS major economic indicators, which was announced last fall. Preliminary scheduling for 2006 suggests that this situation likely will occur in about half of the months during that year.

For additional information, please call the Consumer Price Index program’s information line on 202-691-7000.

Last Modified Date: August 17, 2005

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