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We may be able to save you substantial time and effort in identifying the data you are looking for with an appropriate amount of detail through the use of student researchers and specialized faculty.
Inflation and Cost of Living
People often ask us about inflation often wondering how inflation differs in this region from the rest of the country. We always encourage people to use a broad measure of inflation such as the Consumer Price Index, CPI, for all consumers in the U.S.
One point of confusion related to inflation is the difference between inflation and cost of living. While cost of living is rather obvious and can vary noticeably from region to region inflation is the change in the overall price level in the economy.
Some people ask us about inflation because they have employment contracts or rental contracts that have prices changing with inflation. Again, we encourage people to use a very broad measure of inflation in such cases.
Cost of living data are not as readily available. However, hundreds of cities in the U.S. estimate the cost of buying a clearly defined bundle of goods several times a year. That is, researchers in hundreds of cities price the exact same bundle of goods a few times a year so they can compare how much the bundle costs in different cities. The cost of the bundle serves as a proxy for the cost of living. And we collect the data for Bellingham.
We regularly use the following sites for national data:
US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) (with data on employment, unemployment, productivity, inflation, and more)
US Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) (with data on GDP - including metro level estimates - industry accounts, regional input-output multipliers and much more)
US Bureau of the Census (where we access the American Community Survey data and information in the Economic Census)As always - you should feel free to contact us with any questions. We're here to help.