Q: A 25-ounce box of cereal costs $4. The manufacturer shrinks the size to 22 ounces but charges the same $4 cost. Does inflation data in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) reflect the increase as 12 percent? — Fran Downey, Acworth
A: This is factored into the CPI as about a 12-percent increase, Steve Reed, an economist with the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, told Q&A on the News in an email. “The question comes up a lot, which is understandable, as small size decreases seem to be fairly common these days,” he wrote. BLS researchers who gather price data check every specification of the items being priced, including size. “If anything changes, it is noted and a decision must be made about what to do about it,” Reed wrote. “For small changes in size, the usual solution is to calculate the price change per unit.”
Q: I have read many stories in the press about the four Americans killed in the attack on the consulate in Benghazi, but I have not read exactly how each died. Were they shot or did they die in the fire while trying to escape? — Jim Miller, Hoschton
A: Christopher Stevens, the U.S. Ambassador to Libya, and Sean Smith, an information management officer, died of smoke inhalation during an attack on a U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, in September. CIA contractors Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods, former U.S. Navy SEALS, were killed by an exploding mortar shell while manning a machine gun post during the second wave of attacks.
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