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Friday, June 22, 2012

A Different Look at Inflation: MIT's Billion Price Project

by Calculated Risk on 6/22/2012 09:19:00 AM

This is something I like to check occasionally as a differnt measure for inflation - as opposed to CPI from the BLS.

This is the US only index of the MIT Billion Prices Project.

This index uses prices for online goods. From MIT:

These indexes are designed to provide real-time information on major inflation trends, not to forecast official inflation announcements. We are constantly adding new categories of goods, but we do not cover 100% of CPI goods and services. The price of services, in particular, are not easy to find online and therefore are not included in our statistics.
Billion Price Project Click on graph for larger image.

It appears that year-over-year inflation is around 1.5%.

The recent monthly decline is probably related to oil and gasoline prices, but this is another measure that suggests inflation is not currently a problem.