Alternative Inflation Measures

Shortly after the Bureau of Labor Statistics issues its monthly consumer price index reports, economists across the country get busy -- but probably no busier than those at the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland who crunch the numbers to develop and publish their own analysis: a technical variation, known as the "median CPI," culling out and concentrating on the most stable elements within the elements reported by the BLS.

Of course, BLS itself attempts to eliminate some of the wider price swings by reporting both the headline or all-item price index and a "core" index -- the latter eliminating food and energy, which have generally been highly volatile.