**1998 Consumer Price Index (CPI) Annual Averages**

*by: *David Bullard, Economist

**"As measured by the Consumer Price Index-All Urban Consumers (CPI-U), inflation was 1.6 percent in 1998, lower than it has been for over thirty years."**

**T**he Bureau of Labor Statistics recently released 1998 annual average data for the Consumer Price Index (CPI). Table 1 shows the percent change over the previous year for all items and for major groups.

As measured by the Consumer Price Index-All Urban Consumers (CPI-U), inflation was 1.6 percent in 1998, lower than it has been for over thirty years. Inflation was lowest in the Transportation group (-1.9%) and highest in Other Goods & Services (+5.7%), the group which includes tobacco, personal care and other miscellaneous goods and services.

Table 2 presents the annual average CPI index numbers for the same categories shown in Table 1. To calculate the percent change, subtract the previous year's index from the current year, divide that number by the previous year's index, and finally, multiply that by 100.

For example, to find 1998 inflation as measured by the CPI-U:

- Find the current year's index and subtract the previous year's index, e.g., 1998 CPI-U minus 1997 CPI-U (use Table 2):
**163.0-160.5=2.5** - Divide this number by the previous year's index, e.g., 2.5 divided by 1997 CPI-U:
**2.5/160.5=0.016** - Multiply this number by 100, e.g.,
**0.016*100=1.6**(see Table 1).

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