Request for Comment on the Consumer Inflation Measures Produced by Federal Statistical Agencies, 19961-19963 [2019-09106]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 88 / Tuesday, May 7, 2019 / Notices OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET Request for Comment on the Consumer Inflation Measures Produced by Federal Statistical Agencies Executive Office of the President, Office of Management and Budget (OMB). ACTION: Notice of solicitation of comments. AGENCY: The Office of Management and Budget OMB is seeking comment on the differences among the various consumer price indexes produced by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), and in particular how those differences might influence the estimation of the Official Poverty Measure (OPM) and other income measures produced by the Census Bureau. Based on the comments received and internal discussions with experts, OMB will consider the need to update the specific inflation measure used to adjust the OPM, as well as the need for guidance to Federal agencies to communicate the strengths, weaknesses, and best practices for selecting and using the different indexes. DATES: Comments must be submitted in writing. To ensure consideration of comments, they must be received no later than 45 days from the publication of this notice. Because of delays in the receipt of regular mail related to security screening, respondents are encouraged to send comments electronically (see ADDRESSES, below). ADDRESSES: Comments may be addressed to: Nancy Potok, Chief Statistician, Office of Management and Budget, fax number (202) 395–7245. Email comments may be sent to Statistical_Directives@omb.eop.gov, with the subject ‘‘Directive No. 14’’. Alternatively, comments may also be sent via www.regulations.gov—a Federal E-Government website that allows the public to find, review, and submit comments on documents that agencies have published in the Federal Register and are open for comment. Simply type ‘‘OMB–2019–0002’’ (in quotes) in the Comment or Submission search box, click ‘‘Go’’, and follow the instructions for submitting comments. Comments received by the date specified above will be included as part of the official record. Comments submitted in response to this notice may be made available to the public. For this reason, please do not include in your comments information of a confidential nature, such as sensitive personal information or jbell on DSK3GLQ082PROD with NOTICES SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:24 May 06, 2019 Jkt 247001 proprietary information. If you send an email comment, your email address will be automatically captured and included as part of the comment that is placed in the public docket. Please note that responses to this public comment request containing any routine notice about the confidentiality of the communication will be treated as public comments that may be made available to the public notwithstanding the inclusion of the routine notice. Electronic Availability: This notice is available on the internet on the OMB website at https://www.whitehouse.gov/ omb/. Federal Register notices are also available electronically at https:// www.federalregister.gov/. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For information about this request for comments, contact Bob Sivinski, Office of Management and Budget, 9257 New Executive Office Building, 725 17th St. NW, Washington, DC 20006, telephone (202) 395–1205, or email Statistical_ Directives@omb.eop.gov with the subject ‘‘More Info: Directive No. 14’’. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Under the Budget and Accounting Procedures Act of 1950 (31 U.S.C. 1104(d)) and the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3504(e)), the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) is issuing a request for comment on the differences among the various consumer price indexes produced by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA). In its role as coordinator of the Federal statistical system under the Paperwork Reduction Act, OMB, among other responsibilities, is required to ensure the system’s efficiency and effectiveness. A key method used by OMB to achieve this responsibility is the promulgation, maintenance, and oversight of Government-wide principles, policies, standards, and guidance concerning the development, presentation, and dissemination of Federal statistical products. OMB’s Office of Statistical and Science Policy, within the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, relies on public comment and subject matter expertise across the Federal government to identify areas where existing OMB policies or guidance may be out of date, lacking clarity, or insufficient for efficient coordination of Federal statistics. Accordingly, OMB is seeking public comment on the strengths, weaknesses, and best practices for the application of the following consumer inflation measures: The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI–U), the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage PO 00000 Frm 00063 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 19961 Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI–W), the Chained Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (C–CPI–U), the Consumer Price Index Research Series (CPI–U–RS), and the experimental Consumer Price Index for Urban Elderly Consumers (CPI–E), all produced by BLS, and the Personal Consumption Expenditures Price Index (PCEPI) produced by BEA. Measuring Inflation Inflation is defined as a rise in the general level of prices (and deflation as a decline in the general level of prices). Equivalently, inflation represents a decline in the purchasing power of money. As a general matter, adjusting statistics and other data for inflation better reflects consumers’ actual experiences over time. There are many different ways in which actual indexes attempt to capture this change in the level of prices. Specifically, the inflation measures produced by BLS and BEA differ in their scope, weighting, and formulas, consistent with their original purposes. These measures are continually evaluated to ensure they are objective, accurate, relevant, and timely, thereby maintaining the integrity of official government statistics. Uses of Different Inflation Measures Congress sometimes requires agencies to use a specific inflation measure for specific programs. For example, Public Law 115–97 directs the IRS to adjust federal income tax brackets for inflation with the C–CPI–U. In other instances, Congressional guidance may be absent or less specific, and agencies exercise their discretion in choosing an index to calculate inflation-adjusted statistics. In cases where Congress has not required a specific methodology, agencies should use the measure of inflation most appropriate for the purpose of the program. OMB is seeking comment about how the relative strengths and weakness of the measures might affect the estimation of the OPM and other income measures produced by the Census Bureau. OMB will also consider the need for guidance to Federal agencies on the differences among the indexes. BLS Consumer Price Indexes To produce its inflation measures, BLS tracks the change in price of a collection of consumer goods and services over time. Those items are then weighted using survey data to represent the experience of consumers in their day-to-day living expenses, with each of the CPI measures reflecting different item substitution rates, consumer populations, or other attributes. OMB is E:\FR\FM\07MYN1.SGM 07MYN1 19962 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 88 / Tuesday, May 7, 2019 / Notices seeking comment on the following five indexes produced by BLS. jbell on DSK3GLQ082PROD with NOTICES The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI–U) The all urban consumer group is designed to be representative of about 93 percent of the total U.S. population. It is based on the expenditures of almost all residents of metropolitan or micropolitan areas. The population scope includes professionals, the selfemployed, the unemployed, retired persons, as well as urban wage earners and clerical workers. Not included in the CPI–U are the spending patterns of people living in rural areas (defined as outside of any metropolitan or micropolitan statistical area), those in farm households, Armed Forces members and their families, and those in institutions such as prisons and mental hospitals. The CPI–U is used extensively for official purposes such as: To derive the official poverty thresholds, to adjust Treasury inflation-indexed securities, to deflate nominal values in a variety of measures, and until recently, to adjust federal tax brackets. changes faced by urban consumers. The C–CPI–U is distinguished from the CPI– U by the expenditure weights and price index formulas used to produce aggregate measures of price change. The C–CPI–U employs a formula that reflects the effect of substitution that consumers make across component item categories, for example in response to changes in relative prices. The formula used in the CPI–U and CPI–W does not capture consumer spending response to changing relative prices across the component item categories. The C–CPI–U formula uses expenditure data that is not available until several months after the reference month. Because of this, C–CPI–U estimates produced for the reference month alongside the CPI–U are calculated using estimates of the expenditure data and then revised later when the actual expenditure data are available, usually becoming a final estimate 10 to 12 months after the initial publication. The C–CPI–U was first published in 2002. The Experimental Consumer Price Index for the Elderly (CPI–E) The Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI–W) The CPI–W represents the expenditures of households included in the CPI–U definition that also meet two additional requirements: More than onehalf of the household’s income must come from clerical or wage occupations, and at least one of the household’s earners must have been a full-time worker, that is employed for at least 37 weeks during the previous 12 months. The CPI–W population represents about 29 percent of the total U.S. population and 31 percent of the CPI–U population. The CPI–U and the CPI–W share the same components (item strata) and differ only in population coverage and the weights used to aggregate these components. The CPI–W is used to adjust Social Security benefits and many other Federal transfer payments. The percentage of the population within the CPI–W definition has declined over time, and the CPI–U, which was first published in 1978, has become more widely used. The CPI–W corresponds closely to the population used in computing the CPI from its inception during the World War I era through 1978. The CPI–E uses the same price surveys and formulas as the CPI–U and CPI–W, but uses expenditure weights for households with a reference person or spouse aged 62 years or older. As currently produced, the CPI–E captures the household budgets of the elderly population, which differ from the nonelderly population for notable items such as medical care and shelter. However, the CPI–E does not capture that the elderly population might shop at different places, purchase different specific products and services, or in some cases receive specific price discounts. The CPI–E is an experimental index and is not currently used for official purposes. The Chained Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (C–CPI–U) Both the CPI–U and C–CPI–U are indexes designed to measure price In addition to the BLS CPI measures described above, OMB also seeks comment on the PCEPI chain type price index produced by BEA. VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:24 May 06, 2019 Jkt 247001 The Consumer Price Index Research Series Using Current Methods (CPI–U– RS) The CPI–U–RS presents an estimate of the CPI–U from 1978 to present that incorporates most of the improvements made over that time span into the entire series. The CPI–U–RS therefore provides an estimate of what the CPI–U would have looked like had current methodology been in place since 1978. The Personal Consumption Expenditures Price Index (PCEPI) PO 00000 Frm 00064 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 The PCEPI is a measure of the prices that people and nonprofit institutions pay for goods and services. The PCEPI uses mainly CPI series along with some Producer Price Index series, also produced by BLS, as well as price indexes from other Federal agencies. The PCEPI differs from the CPI in weighting, formula, and scope. A summary of these differences can be found at the BEA website: https:// www.bea.gov/help/faq/555. The PCEPI is compiled monthly and quarterly and both are revised routinely unlike the official CPI–U and CPI–W series, which are not revised. More information on each of these measures can be found at the BLS website: https://www.bls.gov/cpi/ and the BEA website: https://www.bea.gov/ data/personal-consumptionexpenditures-price-index. The Official Poverty Measure OMB’s Statistical Policy Directive No. 14 (Directive No.14), issued in May 1978, specifies the use of the Consumer Price Index (CPI) in the annual adjustments of poverty thresholds (the OPM) calculated and published by the Census Bureau. Specifically, the directive states: Annual adjustments in Census series are based on changes in the average annual total Consumer Price Index (CPI) instead of changes in the cost of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economy Food Plan. In practice, the CPI–U has been the index used for the annual adjustments. This policy has not been reevaluated since the introduction of new consumer inflation measures, such as the C–CPI– U. OMB is currently reevaluating the appropriateness of the use of the CPI– U for annual adjustment in the OPM. To assist in this reevaluation, OMB assembled an interagency technical working group to study an array of possible price change measures and to make a recommendation to OMB on potentially revising the current method for adjusting the OPM. The comments received under this Notice will be reviewed and considered by the technical working group in developing their recommendation to OMB. The OPM, also known as the poverty threshold, should not be confused with the poverty guidelines produced annually by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. While the poverty thresholds are used for calculating official poverty population statistics, the poverty guidelines are used for administrative purposes. Most commonly the poverty thresholds are used by a number of federal, state, local, and non-profit programs, such as E:\FR\FM\07MYN1.SGM 07MYN1 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 88 / Tuesday, May 7, 2019 / Notices Medicaid and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), to determine income eligibility. The guidelines are based on the previous year’s poverty thresholds, and updated for inflation using the CPI–U, based on statutory language in the Community Services Block Grant Act (42 U.S.C. 9902(2)). Because of this, changes to the poverty thresholds, including how they are updated for inflation over time, may affect eligibility for programs that use the poverty guidelines. OMB is not currently seeking comment on the poverty guidelines or their application. More information on the poverty guidelines can be found at: https:// aspe.hhs.gov/poverty-guidelines. Request for Public Comment OMB is seeking comment from the public on: (1) The strengths and weaknesses of the indexes for different applications or uses; (2) the strengths and weaknesses of the use of the CPI– U to make annual adjustments to the OPM, as established in OMB’s Statistical Policy Directive #14, and discussion of potential alternative indexes; (3) the strengths and weaknesses of the different indexes for making annual adjustments to the historical income figures produced by the Census Bureau; (4) the need for and feasibility of guidance from OMB or other Federal source explaining the differences between indexes and best practices for their use; (5) recommendations for the use of the PCEPI and C–CPI–U for the production of official statistics, considering that both measures are revised after initial release. Nancy Potok, Chief, Statistical and Science Policy, Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs. [FR Doc. 2019–09106 Filed 5–6–19; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3110–01–P NATIONAL FOUNDATION ON THE ARTS AND THE HUMANITIES Proposed Collection; 60-Day Comment Request; Generic Clearance for the Collection of Qualitative Feedback on Agency Service Delivery National Endowment for the Humanities. ACTION: Notice; request for comments. jbell on DSK3GLQ082PROD with NOTICES AGENCY: Pursuant to the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) will be requesting from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) reinstatement, without change, of NEH’s Generic Clearance for the Collection of SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:24 May 06, 2019 Jkt 247001 Qualitative Feedback on Agency Service Delivery. This generic clearance will fast-track the process for NEH to seek feedback from the public, through surveys and similar feedback instruments, regarding NEH services and programs. DATES: Please submit comments by July 8, 2019. ADDRESSES: Submit comments to Michael McDonald, General Counsel, National Endowment for the Humanities: 400 Seventh Street SW, Washington, DC 20506, or gencounsel@ neh.gov. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Michael McDonald, General Counsel, National Endowment for the Humanities: 400 Seventh Street SW, Washington, DC 20506, or gencounsel@ neh.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Overview of This Information Collection Type of Request: Reinstatement, without change, of a previously approved information collection for which approval has expired. Title: Generic Clearance for the Collection of Qualitative Feedback on Agency Service Delivery. OMB Control Number: 3136–0140. Abstract: Reinstatement of this information collection will enable NEH to obtain qualitative customer and stakeholder feedback in an efficient, timely manner, in accordance with the Administration’s commitment to improving service delivery. By qualitative feedback we mean information that provides useful insights on perceptions and opinions, but not statistical surveys that yield quantitative results that can be generalized to the population of study. This feedback will provide NEH with insights into customer or stakeholder perceptions, experiences, and expectations; help NEH quickly identify actual or potential problems with how the agency provides services to the public; or focus attention on areas where communication, training, or changes in operations might improve NEH’s delivery of its products or services. These collections will allow for ongoing, collaborative and actionable communications between NEH and its customers and stakeholders. It will also allow feedback to contribute directly to the improvement of program management. NEH will solicit feedback in areas such as: Timeliness, appropriateness, accuracy of information, courtesy, efficiency of service delivery, and resolution of issues with service PO 00000 Frm 00065 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 19963 delivery. NEH will use the responses to plan and inform its efforts to improve or maintain the quality of service and programs offered to the public. If this information is not collected, NEH will not have access to vital feedback from customers and stakeholders about the agency’s services and programs. NEH will only submit an information collection for approval under this generic clearance if it meets the following conditions: • The collections are voluntary; • The collections are low-burden for respondents (based on considerations of total burden hours, total number of respondents, or burden-hours per respondent) and are low-cost for both the respondents and the Federal Government; • The collections are noncontroversial and do not raise issues of concern to other Federal agencies; • Any collection is targeted to the solicitation of opinions from respondents who have experience with the program or who may have experience with the program in the near future; • Personally identifiable information (PII) is collected only to the extent necessary, and is not retained; • Information gathered is intended to be used only internally for general service improvement and program management purposes and is not intended for release outside of the agency (if released, NEH will indicate the qualitative nature of the information); • Information gathered will not be used for the purpose of substantially informing influential policy decisions; and • Information gathered will yield qualitative information, and the collections will not be designed or expected to yield statistically reliable results or used as though the results are generalizable to the population of study. Feedback collected under this generic clearance provides useful information, but will not yield data that can be generalize to the overall population. This type of generic clearance for qualitative information will not be used for quantitative information collections that are designed to yield reliably actionable results, such as monitoring trends over time or documenting program performance. As a general matter, information collections will not result in any new system of records containing privacy information and will not ask questions of a sensitive nature, such as sexual behavior and attitudes, religious beliefs, and other matters that are commonly considered private. E:\FR\FM\07MYN1.SGM 07MYN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 84, Number 88 (Tuesday, May 7, 2019)]
[Notices]
[Pages 19961-19963]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2019-09106]



[[Page 19961]]

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OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET


Request for Comment on the Consumer Inflation Measures Produced 
by Federal Statistical Agencies

AGENCY: Executive Office of the President, Office of Management and 
Budget (OMB).

ACTION: Notice of solicitation of comments.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: The Office of Management and Budget OMB is seeking comment on 
the differences among the various consumer price indexes produced by 
the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and the Bureau of Economic 
Analysis (BEA), and in particular how those differences might influence 
the estimation of the Official Poverty Measure (OPM) and other income 
measures produced by the Census Bureau. Based on the comments received 
and internal discussions with experts, OMB will consider the need to 
update the specific inflation measure used to adjust the OPM, as well 
as the need for guidance to Federal agencies to communicate the 
strengths, weaknesses, and best practices for selecting and using the 
different indexes.

DATES: Comments must be submitted in writing. To ensure consideration 
of comments, they must be received no later than 45 days from the 
publication of this notice. Because of delays in the receipt of regular 
mail related to security screening, respondents are encouraged to send 
comments electronically (see ADDRESSES, below).

ADDRESSES: Comments may be addressed to: Nancy Potok, Chief 
Statistician, Office of Management and Budget, fax number (202) 395-
7245. Email comments may be sent to [email protected], 
with the subject ``Directive No. 14''. Alternatively, comments may also 
be sent via www.regulations.gov--a Federal E-Government website that 
allows the public to find, review, and submit comments on documents 
that agencies have published in the Federal Register and are open for 
comment. Simply type ``OMB-2019-0002'' (in quotes) in the Comment or 
Submission search box, click ``Go'', and follow the instructions for 
submitting comments. Comments received by the date specified above will 
be included as part of the official record.
    Comments submitted in response to this notice may be made available 
to the public. For this reason, please do not include in your comments 
information of a confidential nature, such as sensitive personal 
information or proprietary information. If you send an email comment, 
your email address will be automatically captured and included as part 
of the comment that is placed in the public docket. Please note that 
responses to this public comment request containing any routine notice 
about the confidentiality of the communication will be treated as 
public comments that may be made available to the public 
notwithstanding the inclusion of the routine notice.
    Electronic Availability: This notice is available on the internet 
on the OMB website at https://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/. Federal Register 
notices are also available electronically at https://www.federalregister.gov/.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For information about this request for 
comments, contact Bob Sivinski, Office of Management and Budget, 9257 
New Executive Office Building, 725 17th St. NW, Washington, DC 20006, 
telephone (202) 395-1205, or email [email protected] 
with the subject ``More Info: Directive No. 14''.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Under the Budget and Accounting Procedures 
Act of 1950 (31 U.S.C. 1104(d)) and the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 
(44 U.S.C. 3504(e)), the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) is 
issuing a request for comment on the differences among the various 
consumer price indexes produced by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) 
and the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA).
    In its role as coordinator of the Federal statistical system under 
the Paperwork Reduction Act, OMB, among other responsibilities, is 
required to ensure the system's efficiency and effectiveness. A key 
method used by OMB to achieve this responsibility is the promulgation, 
maintenance, and oversight of Government-wide principles, policies, 
standards, and guidance concerning the development, presentation, and 
dissemination of Federal statistical products. OMB's Office of 
Statistical and Science Policy, within the Office of Information and 
Regulatory Affairs, relies on public comment and subject matter 
expertise across the Federal government to identify areas where 
existing OMB policies or guidance may be out of date, lacking clarity, 
or insufficient for efficient coordination of Federal statistics.
    Accordingly, OMB is seeking public comment on the strengths, 
weaknesses, and best practices for the application of the following 
consumer inflation measures: The Consumer Price Index for All Urban 
Consumers (CPI-U), the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and 
Clerical Workers (CPI-W), the Chained Consumer Price Index for All 
Urban Consumers (C-CPI-U), the Consumer Price Index Research Series 
(CPI-U-RS), and the experimental Consumer Price Index for Urban Elderly 
Consumers (CPI-E), all produced by BLS, and the Personal Consumption 
Expenditures Price Index (PCEPI) produced by BEA.

Measuring Inflation

    Inflation is defined as a rise in the general level of prices (and 
deflation as a decline in the general level of prices). Equivalently, 
inflation represents a decline in the purchasing power of money. As a 
general matter, adjusting statistics and other data for inflation 
better reflects consumers' actual experiences over time. There are many 
different ways in which actual indexes attempt to capture this change 
in the level of prices. Specifically, the inflation measures produced 
by BLS and BEA differ in their scope, weighting, and formulas, 
consistent with their original purposes. These measures are continually 
evaluated to ensure they are objective, accurate, relevant, and timely, 
thereby maintaining the integrity of official government statistics.

Uses of Different Inflation Measures

    Congress sometimes requires agencies to use a specific inflation 
measure for specific programs. For example, Public Law 115-97 directs 
the IRS to adjust federal income tax brackets for inflation with the C-
CPI-U. In other instances, Congressional guidance may be absent or less 
specific, and agencies exercise their discretion in choosing an index 
to calculate inflation-adjusted statistics. In cases where Congress has 
not required a specific methodology, agencies should use the measure of 
inflation most appropriate for the purpose of the program.
    OMB is seeking comment about how the relative strengths and 
weakness of the measures might affect the estimation of the OPM and 
other income measures produced by the Census Bureau. OMB will also 
consider the need for guidance to Federal agencies on the differences 
among the indexes.

BLS Consumer Price Indexes

    To produce its inflation measures, BLS tracks the change in price 
of a collection of consumer goods and services over time. Those items 
are then weighted using survey data to represent the experience of 
consumers in their day-to-day living expenses, with each of the CPI 
measures reflecting different item substitution rates, consumer 
populations, or other attributes. OMB is

[[Page 19962]]

seeking comment on the following five indexes produced by BLS.

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U)

    The all urban consumer group is designed to be representative of 
about 93 percent of the total U.S. population. It is based on the 
expenditures of almost all residents of metropolitan or micropolitan 
areas. The population scope includes professionals, the self-employed, 
the unemployed, retired persons, as well as urban wage earners and 
clerical workers. Not included in the CPI-U are the spending patterns 
of people living in rural areas (defined as outside of any metropolitan 
or micropolitan statistical area), those in farm households, Armed 
Forces members and their families, and those in institutions such as 
prisons and mental hospitals.
    The CPI-U is used extensively for official purposes such as: To 
derive the official poverty thresholds, to adjust Treasury inflation-
indexed securities, to deflate nominal values in a variety of measures, 
and until recently, to adjust federal tax brackets.

The Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers 
(CPI-W)

    The CPI-W represents the expenditures of households included in the 
CPI-U definition that also meet two additional requirements: More than 
one-half of the household's income must come from clerical or wage 
occupations, and at least one of the household's earners must have been 
a full-time worker, that is employed for at least 37 weeks during the 
previous 12 months. The CPI-W population represents about 29 percent of 
the total U.S. population and 31 percent of the CPI-U population. The 
CPI-U and the CPI-W share the same components (item strata) and differ 
only in population coverage and the weights used to aggregate these 
components.
    The CPI-W is used to adjust Social Security benefits and many other 
Federal transfer payments. The percentage of the population within the 
CPI-W definition has declined over time, and the CPI-U, which was first 
published in 1978, has become more widely used. The CPI-W corresponds 
closely to the population used in computing the CPI from its inception 
during the World War I era through 1978.

The Chained Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (C-CPI-U)

    Both the CPI-U and C-CPI-U are indexes designed to measure price 
changes faced by urban consumers. The C-CPI-U is distinguished from the 
CPI-U by the expenditure weights and price index formulas used to 
produce aggregate measures of price change. The C-CPI-U employs a 
formula that reflects the effect of substitution that consumers make 
across component item categories, for example in response to changes in 
relative prices. The formula used in the CPI-U and CPI-W does not 
capture consumer spending response to changing relative prices across 
the component item categories.
    The C-CPI-U formula uses expenditure data that is not available 
until several months after the reference month. Because of this, C-CPI-
U estimates produced for the reference month alongside the CPI-U are 
calculated using estimates of the expenditure data and then revised 
later when the actual expenditure data are available, usually becoming 
a final estimate 10 to 12 months after the initial publication. The C-
CPI-U was first published in 2002.

The Experimental Consumer Price Index for the Elderly (CPI-E)

    The CPI-E uses the same price surveys and formulas as the CPI-U and 
CPI-W, but uses expenditure weights for households with a reference 
person or spouse aged 62 years or older. As currently produced, the 
CPI-E captures the household budgets of the elderly population, which 
differ from the non-elderly population for notable items such as 
medical care and shelter. However, the CPI-E does not capture that the 
elderly population might shop at different places, purchase different 
specific products and services, or in some cases receive specific price 
discounts.
    The CPI-E is an experimental index and is not currently used for 
official purposes.

The Consumer Price Index Research Series Using Current Methods (CPI-U-
RS)

    The CPI-U-RS presents an estimate of the CPI-U from 1978 to present 
that incorporates most of the improvements made over that time span 
into the entire series. The CPI-U-RS therefore provides an estimate of 
what the CPI-U would have looked like had current methodology been in 
place since 1978.

The Personal Consumption Expenditures Price Index (PCEPI)

    In addition to the BLS CPI measures described above, OMB also seeks 
comment on the PCEPI chain type price index produced by BEA.
    The PCEPI is a measure of the prices that people and nonprofit 
institutions pay for goods and services. The PCEPI uses mainly CPI 
series along with some Producer Price Index series, also produced by 
BLS, as well as price indexes from other Federal agencies. The PCEPI 
differs from the CPI in weighting, formula, and scope. A summary of 
these differences can be found at the BEA website: https://www.bea.gov/help/faq/555. The PCEPI is compiled monthly and quarterly and both are 
revised routinely unlike the official CPI-U and CPI-W series, which are 
not revised.
    More information on each of these measures can be found at the BLS 
website: https://www.bls.gov/cpi/ and the BEA website: https://www.bea.gov/data/personal-consumption-expenditures-price-index.

The Official Poverty Measure

    OMB's Statistical Policy Directive No. 14 (Directive No.14), issued 
in May 1978, specifies the use of the Consumer Price Index (CPI) in the 
annual adjustments of poverty thresholds (the OPM) calculated and 
published by the Census Bureau. Specifically, the directive states:
    Annual adjustments in Census series are based on changes in the 
average annual total Consumer Price Index (CPI) instead of changes in 
the cost of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Economy Food Plan.
    In practice, the CPI-U has been the index used for the annual 
adjustments. This policy has not been reevaluated since the 
introduction of new consumer inflation measures, such as the C-CPI-U. 
OMB is currently reevaluating the appropriateness of the use of the 
CPI-U for annual adjustment in the OPM. To assist in this reevaluation, 
OMB assembled an interagency technical working group to study an array 
of possible price change measures and to make a recommendation to OMB 
on potentially revising the current method for adjusting the OPM. The 
comments received under this Notice will be reviewed and considered by 
the technical working group in developing their recommendation to OMB.
    The OPM, also known as the poverty threshold, should not be 
confused with the poverty guidelines produced annually by the U.S. 
Department of Health and Human Services. While the poverty thresholds 
are used for calculating official poverty population statistics, the 
poverty guidelines are used for administrative purposes. Most commonly 
the poverty thresholds are used by a number of federal, state, local, 
and non-profit programs, such as

[[Page 19963]]

Medicaid and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), to 
determine income eligibility. The guidelines are based on the previous 
year's poverty thresholds, and updated for inflation using the CPI-U, 
based on statutory language in the Community Services Block Grant Act 
(42 U.S.C. 9902(2)). Because of this, changes to the poverty 
thresholds, including how they are updated for inflation over time, may 
affect eligibility for programs that use the poverty guidelines. OMB is 
not currently seeking comment on the poverty guidelines or their 
application. More information on the poverty guidelines can be found 
at: https://aspe.hhs.gov/poverty-guidelines.

Request for Public Comment

    OMB is seeking comment from the public on: (1) The strengths and 
weaknesses of the indexes for different applications or uses; (2) the 
strengths and weaknesses of the use of the CPI-U to make annual 
adjustments to the OPM, as established in OMB's Statistical Policy 
Directive #14, and discussion of potential alternative indexes; (3) the 
strengths and weaknesses of the different indexes for making annual 
adjustments to the historical income figures produced by the Census 
Bureau; (4) the need for and feasibility of guidance from OMB or other 
Federal source explaining the differences between indexes and best 
practices for their use; (5) recommendations for the use of the PCEPI 
and C-CPI-U for the production of official statistics, considering that 
both measures are revised after initial release.

Nancy Potok,
Chief, Statistical and Science Policy, Office of Information and 
Regulatory Affairs.
[FR Doc. 2019-09106 Filed 5-6-19; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 3110-01-P