The December 2010 Consumer Price Index for Urban Consumers (CPI-U) is 219.179. The annualized inflation rate computed from this number is 1.50%, which marks the 14th month of mild inflation after a streak of eight consecutive months of deflation. The annualized inflation rate is well below the 3.97% average since the end of World War II. We have been experiencing a general trend lower from the January 2010 annualized rate of 2.63%.
For a comparison of headline inflation with core inflation, which is based on the CPI excluding food and energy, see this new feature.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has compiled CPI data since 1913 (BLS historic data). Our chart now shows inflation back to 1872 by adding Warren and Pearson’s price index for the earlier years. The spliced series is available at Yale Professor Robert Shiller’s website. This look further back into the past dramatically illustrates the extreme oscillation between inflation and deflation during the first 70 years of our timeline. Click here for additional perspectives on inflation and the shrinking value of the dollar.
Alternate Inflation Data
The ShadowStats Alternate rate of inflation is 8.91%
As I’ve expressed elsewhere, my opinion is that the optimum method for calculating consumer prices is probably somewhere between the revised BLS method and the historic method preserved by Williams. However, government policy, the Federal Funds Rate, interest rates in general and decades of major business decisions have been fundamentally driven by the official BLS inflation data, not the alternate CPI. For this reason I think it best to take the alternate inflation data as a interesting, but not authoritative.