Academic journal article Monthly Labor Review

The July Review

Academic journal article Monthly Labor Review

The July Review

Article excerpt

Prices and their measurement are the central focus of this latest issue of the Monthly Labor Review.

Quite often in the July issue, we publish a retrospective look at changes in the prices of goods and materials as measured by the BLS Producer Price Index. Joseph Kowal, Antonio Lombardozzi, Scott Sager, and William Snyders assess the trends in producer prices for calendar year 2007 and find inflation was notably on the rise. Prices for finished goods rose sharply--more than 6 percent--after having grown by only about 1 percent in 2006. The index for intermediate materials, which reflects the prices of goods produced at an earlier stage of processing, increased by about 7 percent in 2007, more than double the previous year's rate. The prices for crude materials rose steeply--nearly 20 percent--after having fallen slightly less than 5 percent in 2006.

Much of these noticeable upturns were due to higher prices for energy and foods. Prices for refined petroleum products, and especially for crude petroleum, moved up more than they had the year before, and, at each stage of processing, overall energy goods and materials accelerated well into the double digits. Similarly, prices for foods at each level of processing were up much more than in 2006.

How the prices for new vehicles are measured across the Bureau's various price measurement programs is the subject of a comparative study by five BLS economists. …

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