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News Release  Chicago Fed Survey of Business Conditions

Embargoed for release: Survey suggests growth picked up in June


10:00 am Eastern Time
9:00 am Central Time The Chicago Fed Survey of Business Conditions (CFSBC) Activity Index increased to +3 in June
July 13, 2020 from –32 in May, suggesting that economic growth was near trend. The CFSBC Manufacturing
Activity Index moved up to +31 in June from –19 in May, and the CFSBC Nonmanufacturing
Contact:
Activity Index increased to −10 in June from –39 in the previous month.
Michael Adleman
Media Relations • Respondents’ outlooks for the U.S. economy for the next 12 months improved and remained
Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago optimistic on balance. Forty-four percent of respondents expected an increase in economic
312-322-2934 activity over the next three months, and 48 percent expected activity to return to its level
before the pandemic by the end of 2021.
• The pace of current hiring decreased slightly, as did respondents’ expectations for the pace
What is the Survey of Business Conditions?
of hiring over the next 12 months. But both hiring indexes remained negative.
Business contacts in the Seventh Federal
Reserve District are asked to rate various • Respondents’ expectations for the pace of capital spending over the next 12 months decreased
aspects of business conditions along a slightly, and the capital spending expectations index turned negative.
seven-point scale ranging from “substantially
increased” to “substantially decreased.” • The labor cost pressures index decreased, as did the nonlabor cost pressures index. Both
A series of diffusion indexes summarizing the cost pressures indexes remained negative.
distribution of responses is then calculated.
How are the indexes constructed?
Respondents’ answers on the seven-point
scale are assigned a numeric value ranging
from +3 to –3. Each diffusion index is Activity Indexes: Overall and by Sector
calculated as the difference between the
number of respondents with answers 100
above their respective average responses
and the number of respondents with 75
answers below their respective average
50
responses, divided by the total number of
respondents. The index is then multiplied
25
by 100 so that it ranges from +100 to
−100 and will be +100 if every respondent 3
0
provides an above-average answer and
–100 if every respondent provides a below- -25
average answer. Respondents with no prior
history of responses are excluded from -50
the calculation.
What do the numbers mean? -75

Respondents’ respective average answers


-100
to a question can be interpreted as repre- 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020
senting their historical trends, or long-run
averages. Thus, zero index values indicate
that, on balance, activity, hiring, capital
Manufacturing Nonmanufacturing
spending, and cost pressures are growing at 100 100
their trend rates or that outlooks are neutral.
Positive index values indicate above-average 75 75
growth (or optimistic outlooks) on balance,
and negative values indicate below-average 50 50
growth (or pessimistic outlooks) on balance. 31
25 25

0 0
-10
The next CFSBC will be released: -25 -25
August 12, 2020
-50 -50
10:00 am Eastern Time
9:00 am Central Time -75 -75

-100 -100
2014 2016 2018 2020 2014 2016 2018 2020
Additional Survey Results

Activity Hiring

Increased Employment (%)


100 Current 100 Current Higher
Skilled 13
Outlook Planned
75 75
Lower
Skilled 15
50 50
39
25 25

3
0 0
-7
-25 -25

-44
-50 -50

-75 -75

-100 -100
2014 2016 2018 2020 2014 2016 2018 2020

Capital Spending
Current Spending for (%) Spending on (%)
100 Planned New Capital 41 Equipment 8
75
Capacity Structures
Expansion 16 38
50
Intellectual
25 Property 32

0
-3
-25

-50

-75

-100
2014 2016 2018 2020

Cost Pressures
Increased Labor Costs (%) Increased Nonlabor Costs (%)
100 Labor Higher
Skilled 18 Materials 21
Nonlabor
75
Lower
Skilled 23 Energy 15
50

25 Equipment 13

0
Property 11
-25
Shipping 29
-50 -57
-60
-75 Taxes 9

-100
Regulations 20
2014 2016 2018 2020

Notes: Positive readings of the current activity, hiring, and labor and nonlabor cost pressures indexes indicate that more respondents reported above-average growth at their respective firms than below-average
growth in current activity, hiring, and labor and nonlabor cost pressures. Positive readings of the planned hiring and capital spending indexes indicate similar outcomes for questions pertaining to expectations for
hiring and capital spending in the next 12 months. Positive readings of the outlook index indicate more respondents reported above-average outlooks for the U.S. economy over the next 12 months than below-average
ones. The bar charts report the percentage of responses indicating increased employment by skill type; purchases of new capital by purpose and type; and increased unit labor and nonlabor costs by type. The
numbers may add up to more than 100 percent because more than one option can be chosen. In late 2019, the underlying survey questions on cost pressures were changed to focus on labor and nonlabor costs
instead of wage and nonwage costs. The results based on this change were first reported in the November 27, 2019, release.

CFSBC release dates, historical data, and background information are available at chicagofed.org/cfsbc.