An increase in prices for goods and services. Inflation is measured by a number of economic indicators. The consumer price index (CPI) is the most closely followed. A high rate of inflation can stifle consumer spending, slow the rate of production of goods and services, and eventually jam brakes on economic growth. The Federal Reserve uses monetary policy to control the rate of inflation. Compare to Deflation; Disinflation. See Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE).