Paris, Texas, to be added to Consumer Price Index survey areas.
The United States Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) will begin collecting data for the Consumer Price Index (CPI) in the Paris, Texas, area in May 2019. According to Assistant Commissioner Stanley W. Suchman, the communities of Lamar County make up one of six new areas in which CPI data will be collected beginning this year, the third edition of the new regions to the CPI sample since its 1998 revision. The other areas to be added in 2019 are Charlotte, NC; Frankfort, IN; St. George, UT; Wahpeton, ND; and Winston-Salem, NC.
The Consumer Price Index is one of the nation’s most important economic indicators. It is a crucial gauge of inflation used widely in the formulation and evaluation of economic policy; adjusting COLA payments under many government programs including payments to Social Security beneficiaries, retired military, and federal civil service employees and survivors; modifying agreements including leases, collective bargaining, and wages and pensions. The CPI is a measure of the average change in prices paid by urban consumers for a fixed market basket of goods and services. It is an estimate based on representative prices paid for items including food, clothing, shelter, fuels, transportation, medical services, and other goods and services that people buy for day-to-day living.
The Consumer Price Index periodically updates the geographic areas across the country in which prices are collected. The last time they were updated was in 1998 based on the 1990 Census of Population. The new design reflects shifts in the U.S. population based on the 2010 Decennial Census. The CPI will transition from the current 87-area design to a new 75-area design throughout about five years. During this time, 21 new areas will be added and work in 31 current areas will be discontinued, and the counties covered in other areas may change as well based on updated information from the Office of Management and Budget. The first edition of the new regions to the CPI sample started in 2016 with six new areas: Clarksburg, WV; Flint, MI; Meridian, MS; Orlando, FL; Rochester, NY; and Santa Rosa, CA. Data collected in these areas were used for the first time with the January 2018 index. The second edition of the new cities to the CPI sample started in 2018 with six new areas: Jacksonville, NC; Janesville, WI; Omaha, NE; Russellville, AR; Wichita, KS; and Wilmington, NC. Data collected in these areas were used for the first time with the November 2019 index.
In the coming months, employees from the CPI program will visit housing units chosen using statistical methods to represent the local housing market. The interviews are brief and no one will be asked to fill out any forms. Data collected from households and businesses by BLS are held in strict confidence and used for statistical purposes only. Later in the year, BLS representatives will also make personal visits to explain the survey to retail establishments selected as a result of telephone surveys conducted last year that asked local residents where they bought various goods and services.
Representatives will carry official identification and are U.S. Department of Labor employees. Local staff members will be part-time Economic Assistants who will be trained to collect data in person and by telephone using portable tablet computers. Job announcements for Economic Assistant positions can be found on usajobs.gov at www.usajobs.com.
Further information regarding the CPI or the broad range of economic data available from the BLS may be obtained by contacting the Dallas Regional Office at (972) 850-4800 or by visiting the BLS website at www.bls.gov.