BLS Handbook of Methods

In This Chapter

Chapter 15.
International Price Indexes

Data Sources
The target universe of the import and export price indexes consists of all goods and services sold by U.S. residents to foreign buyers (exports) and purchased from abroad by U.S. residents (imports). Ideally, the total breadth of U.S. trade in goods and services in the private sector would be represented in the universe. Items for which it is difficult to obtain consistent time series for comparable products, however, such as works of art, are excluded. Products that may be purchased on the open market for military use are included, but goods exclusively for military use are excluded. Currently, only selected services for transportation areas are included.

The import merchandise sampling frames are obtained from the U.S. Customs Service. The export merchandise sampling frames are obtained from the Canadian Customs Service for exports to Canada and from the Bureau of the Census for exports to the rest of the world. Data sources for services are researched and developed separately for each category. For example, the Department of Transportation provides the sampling frames for the air freight price indexes. The reference period for a sampling frame is generally the most recent available 12 months.

Next: Sampling

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