Producer Price Indexes measure average changes in prices received by domestic producers of commodities in all stages of processing. Most of the information used in calculating the indexes is obtained through the systematic sampling of nearly every industry in the manufacturing and mining sectors of the economy. Because producer price indexes are designed to measure only the change in prices received for the output of domestic industries, imports are not included. The stage-of-processing indexes organize products by class of buyer and degree of fabrication.

Within the stage-of-processing system, finished goods are commodities that will not undergo further processing and are ready for sale to the final individual or business consumer. Finished goods include unprocessed foods such as eggs and fresh vegetables, as well as processed foods such as bakery products and meats. Other finished consumer goods include durable goods such as automobiles, household furniture, and appliances, and nondurable goods such as apparel and home heating oil. Producer durable goods include heavy motor trucks, tractors, and machine tools.

Intermediate materials consist partly of commodities that have been processed but require further processing, such as flour, cotton yarn, steel mill products, and lumber. Nondurables in this category include diesel fuel, paper boxes, and fertilizers. Crude materials are products entering the market for the first time that have not been manufactured and that are not sold directly to consumers, such as grains and livestock. Raw cotton, crude petroleum, coal, hides and skins, and iron and steel scrap are examples of non food crude materials.