The price index, another measure of the BLS, is a "tool that simplifies the measurement of movements in a numerical series," states the BLS. "An index for 110, for example, means there has been a 10 percent increase in price since the reference period."
The BLS measures a consumer price index for uncooked beef steaks in addition to the average price of sirloin steaks. This index (uncooked beef steak) reached its all-time high of 199.104 in July 2014. The index hit 100.0 in August 1998, which means that, since then, the price of uncooked beef steaks has increased 99.104 percent, or nearly doubled.
The index of 199.104 in July in 2014 is up from the 198.113 index in June; up from the 197.386 in May; and up from the 181.533 index in January 2014.
The average price for sirloin steak per pound reached its all-time high of $7.87 in the United States in July as well, according to the BLS.
In January 1989, when BLS started tracking the price of this commodity, sirloin steak cost $3.85 per pound. Five years ago, in July 2009, sirloin steak cost $5.85 per pound. Now, as of July 2014, the price stands at $7.87, which is an increase of 34.5 percent. Last year, in July 2013, sirloin steak per pound cost $6.68.
In January 1980, when the BLS began tracking the price of round steak per pound, it cost $2.72 per pound. Five years ago, in July 2009, round steak cost $4.01 per pound. Since then, the price of round steak per pound has increased 39.1 percent. Last year, in July 2013, round steak per pound cost $4.86.
Each month, the BLS employs data collectors to visit thousands of retail stores all over the United States to obtain information on the prices of thousands of items to measure changes for the Consumer Price Index (CPI). The CPI is simply the average change over time in prices paid by consumers for a market basket of goods and services.
“The food index rose 0.4 percent in July, its fifth increase at least that large in the last 6 months,” states BLS. “The index for meats, poultry, fish and eggs has increased 7.6 percent over [the last 12 months] and the index for dairy and related products has risen 4.3 percent.”