I don’t often harp on this topic–though many of my correspondents get mad at me for “ignoring” it–because it looks like I’m moving the goalposts. Having said that, has anyone noticed how the amount of food is getting cut way back in the packaging at the grocery store?!
I get sushi a lot, in a package from the deli counter. They charge the same price as they did a year ago. Except, a year ago you got 10 pieces of sushi, now you only get 9. Same price. Someone do the algebra on that to check, but I’m pretty sure it’s more than a 2% increase.
Or how about the packets of pre-cooked and cut-up chicken that I buy, to sprinkle on my salad? (As lazy as you think I am when it comes to food preparation, double it.) I didn’t measure it, but I would not be surprised if they reduced the amount of actual chicken in the package at least 25% from a year ago, and I think they charge roughly the same price. Again, someone get out a calculator, but I think that’s above 2%.
Now yes there are more goods in the economy than the two things I often buy at the grocery store, and yes in theory the BLS takes unit prices based on weight into account and they are up at night worrying about how to correctly make hedonic adjustments to be as accurate as possible. I know all that, I just don’t trust them, sorry.