March 12, 1999
The Bureau of Labor Statistics periodically conducts "reality checks" of the Producer Price Index (PPI) by comparing its components with alternative price measures. Most recently, BLS tested the elements of the energy commodities group, because of the large relative importance of energy indexes in the aggregate PPIs at all stages of processing. In all the tests, the energy PPIs closely tracked the alternative price measures.
Month-to-month percent changes in six PPI energy product indexes—natural gas, crude petroleum, fuel oil #2, gasoline, residential electric power, and residential natural gas—were compared to changes in alternative data sources. In the first four cases, the alternative data were from the Energy Information Administration; in the last two, the alternatives were from the BLS Consumer Price Index (CPI).
For all six comparisons, there was a failure to reject the null hypothesis that the means of the percent changes are the same. In other words, the two series registered almost exactly the same average month-to-month change. Similarly, tests of the comparative variance of the series found that there was no significant difference in the variability of the changes around those means. Thus, the PPI energy indexes perform well in their measurement of price trends in the real economy.
This analysis is the product of the Producer Price Index program. Additional information can be found in "Comparing PPI energy indexes to alternative data sources,"Monthly Labor Review, December 1998.
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Energy PPIs closely track oil, gas, and electricity prices on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/1999/mar/wk2/art05.htm (visited August 29, 2015).
New estimates of personal taxes in Consumer Expenditure Survey
In 2013, the Consumer Expenditure Survey improved its personal tax data.
Trends in long-term unemployment
Long-term unemployment reached historically high levels following the recession of 2007–2009.
Housing: before, during, and after the Great Recession
looks at consumer expenditures on household items, employment in residential construction, prices for household items, and injuries in occupations involved in building and maintaining our homes.