Elements of the Index and Subindexes

The “goods” used in the CPI are organized into expenditure classes (ECs); as of 1999, there were 68 ECs. These are in turn are subdivided into item strata; as of 1998, there were 218 strata. Finally, the item strata are subdivided into entry-level items (ELIs); as of 2000, there were 282 ELIs.14 The following is an example of this hierarchy of goods (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 1997a):

Expenditure Class 24: Maintenance and repair commodities

Item stratum 2401: Materials, supplies, equipment for home repairs

Entry-level items:

24011: Paint, wallpaper, and supplies

24012: Tools and equipment for painting

24013: Lumber, paneling, wall and ceiling tile; awnings, glass

24014: Blacktop and masonry materials

24015: Plumbing supplies and equipment

24016: Electrical supplies, heating and cooling equipment.

Item stratum 2404: Other property maintenance commodities

Entry-level items:

24041: Miscellaneous supplies and equipment

24042: Hard surface floor covering

24043: Landscaping items

Subsequently, the ECs and their components were redesignated; in the 26 March 1999 list of ELIs, EC24 has been restructured as:

Expenditure Class HM: Tools, hardware, outdoor equipment and supplies

Item stratum HM01: Tools, hardware, and supplies

Entry-level items:

HM011: Paint, wallpaper tools, and supplies

HM012: Power tools

HM013: Miscellaneous hardware, supplies, and equipment

HM014: Nonpower hand yools

Item stratum HM02: Outdoor equipment and supplies

Entry-level items:

HM021: Powered lawn and garden equipment and other outdoor items

HM022: Lawn and garden supplies and insecticides

The data used in the CPI are collected in 87 primary sampling units (PSUs; see Williams, 1996). The data are aggregated into 54 basic areas—34 self-representing areas (e.g., Kansas City, MO-KS) and 20 region- and population-size


Data from BLS dictionaries and Dennis Fixler (BLS, personal communication, 2000).

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