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The producer price index (PPI) is one of the oldest continuously recorded statistics in the United States. While the better-known consumer price index (CPI) computes the price of a basket of consumer goods in retail stores, the PPI looks at raw materials, intermediate goods, and goods ready to be shipped. In fact, it was previously known as the wholesale price index (WPI). FRED offers the PPI in all sorts of decompositions, over 10,000 series in total.

In the graph, we compare the CPI with the PPI. Notice that the PPI appears to be more volatile, at least in recent years, and the two indexes tracked each other much better before the 1980s than since. In particular, the PPI has increased much less than the CPI and has seen some dramatic drops.

How this graph was created: Search for PPI, and the index for all commodities will likely be your first choice. Add that series to the graph. Then add the CPI by searching for it in the “Graph” tab through the “Add Data Series” panel.

Suggested by Christian Zimmermann

View on FRED, series used in this post: CPIAUCSL, PPIACO

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