Chicago Fed Survey of Business Conditions (CFSBC)
The Chicago Fed Survey of Business Conditions (CFSBC) is a survey of business contacts located in the Seventh Federal Reserve District. The Chicago Fed produces diffusion indexes based on the quantitative questions in the survey that are released at 10:00 a.m. ET on scheduled days, normally in the second week of each calendar month.
Latest CFSBC Release
The Chicago Fed Survey of Business Conditions (CFSBC) Activity Index decreased to −69 in April from –55 in March, suggesting that economic growth remained well below trend.
Beginning with the May 12, 2020, release, the CFSBC moved to a monthly release schedule. This release, with data for April 2020, now contains estimated monthly historical values for the CFSBC indexes, as will all future releases. For additional information on how the survey and indexes changed, see the CFSBC FAQs. The updated release schedule for 2020 is available here.
The CFSBC diffusion indexes are derived from survey questions that cover product demand, hiring, capital spending and input costs. Respondents report how these aspects of their businesses have changed over the past month (or are expected to change in the next 12 months) on a seven-point scale. Each diffusion index is calculated as the difference between the number of respondents with answers above their respective average responses and the number of respondents with answers below their respective average responses, divided by the total number of respondents. The index is then multiplied by 100 so that it ranges from +100 to −100. Respondents with no prior history of responses are excluded from the calculation. As an example, for the CFSBC Activity Index, if 30 respondents report above-average product demand growth, 20 respondents report below-average demand growth and there are 100 total respondents, the index will have a value of +10. On average, there are about 100 survey respondents, representing the banking and finance (16 percent), construction and real estate (16 percent), manufacturing (32 percent), and nonfinancial services (36 percent) sectors.
For a detailed description of the diffusion indexes and their properties, see this Economic Perspectives article.