FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — The latest consumer price index (CPI) numbers have been released, and according to one local expert, you don’t really need them to understand current inflation trends.

“You don’t need the CPI to tell you what’s happening with prices,” said Rachel Blakeman, the director of the PFW community research institute.

The CPI tracks the cost of goods over time to understand how inflation is raising prices for consumers.

Normally, you can track trends and see where goods are more or less expensive across the nation.

While this normally would take expert eyes and a calculating mind to find trends, right now it’s impacting prices that most consumers see every day.

“It has been across the board, and it has been in products that are essentially impossible to avoid spending money on,” Blakeman said.

What exactly does that mean for consumers?

Well in years past, monitoring the CPI could give consumers great deals.

Blakeman recalls that at one point, durable, electronic goods like televisions were particularly cheap in the Midwest when compared with the nation, meaning it was a good time to buy.

But now with inflation pushing the prices of necessities, Blakeman said some could be left behind.

“If you didn’t get a pay increase of about 3% from last year to this year, that means your dollar isn’t going as far,” Blakeman said.

A 2.9% raise is the exact number you would need to keep pace in the Midwest, but across the nation, it was actually a bigger gap with inflation reaching 3.2%.

You can see the updated CPI numbers for yourself on the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Website.