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Shopping for the Consumer Price Index

Money magnified

The Bureau of Labor Statistics today released the monthly Consumer Price Index, a key economic indicator that tracks inflation. To track prices, the Labor Department sends out hundreds of people around the country to monitor prices for everything Americans buy -- from tires to food and college tuitions.

Robert Siegel went shopping with Caren Gaffney to find out how the Consumer Price Index is compiled. On the outing, Gaffney, a former telecommunications executive, checked prices in two grocery stores in the Washington, D.C., area. Siegel discusses the index with economists Mark Zandi of Moody's Economy.com, the Cleveland Federal Reserve's Michael Bryan and the University of Rochester's Mark Bils.

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