Tracking Inflation

Key Concepts and Summary

Economists measure the price level by using a basket of goods and services and calculating how the total cost of buying that basket of goods will increase over time. Economists often express the price level in terms of index numbers, which transform the cost of buying the basket of goods and services into a series of numbers in the same proportion to each other, but with an arbitrary base year of 100. We measure the inflation rate as the percentage change between price levels or index numbers over time.