In recent years, there has been much attention paid to the ability of U.S. industries, and manufacturers in particular, to compete with foreign imports. With that attention has come the corresponding need for additional data to provide further insights into globalization. For the past 20 years, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has provided price indexes for imports from a limited set of countries and regions. Until now, however, the usefulness of the data as a potential measure of competitiveness has been limited by the lack of any locality of origin data by industry sector.
To help fill this data gap, the International Price Program of BLS has expanded the existing import price indexes by locality of origin to include more detail below the “all import” level of aggregation. Beginning on August 10, 2012, there will be 249 new indexes, in addition to the locality of origin indexes previously published. These indexes cover select industry sectors across the 15 currently published localities, including 31 new price indexes covering imports from China and 20 for imports from the European Union. Prior to the expansion, the only price indexes published below the all import level were the broad groupings for manufactured and non-manufactured goods. The new Locality of Origin price indexes are published using the North American Industrial Classification System (NAICS), the same classification system used to aggregate the Producer Price Indexes (PPI). Having more detailed price data available for imports from different countries and regions will improve the analysis of price trends between domestic and imported goods.