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Last Updated: 10/16/19

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 3:00 p.m. ET on scheduled days, eight times per year.

Latest CFSBC Release

Survey Shows Growth Edged Up in Late August and September

The Chicago Fed Survey of Business Conditions (CFSBC) Activity Index edged up to −20 from −23, suggesting that growth in economic activity remained at a modest pace in late August and September.


Notes: Real gross domestic product (GDP) growth is presented at an annualized quarterly rate. The CFSBC Activity Index is converted from a biquarterly to quarterly frequency by taking the quarterly average of the available data. After averaging, the CFSBC Activity Index values are rescaled by taking the fitted values from a regression of GDP growth on the CFSBC Activity Index.

Sources: Chicago Fed staff calculations and GDP data from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis from the Federal Reserve Economic Data (FRED) service of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.

Download the indexes.



The CFSBC diffusion indexes are derived from nine questions that cover product demand, hiring, capital spending and input costs. Respondents report how these aspects of their businesses have changed over the past four to six weeks (or are expected to change in the next six to 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 120 survey respondents, representing the banking and finance (17 percent), construction and real estate (18 percent), manufacturing (32 percent) and nonfinancial services (34 percent) sectors.

For a detailed description of the diffusion indexes and their properties, see this Economic Perspectives article.

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Thomas Walstrum
(312) 322-4244
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Business leaders with operations in Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, Michigan, or Wisconsin are invited to participate in the CFSBC.


Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, 230 South LaSalle Street, Chicago, Illinois 60604-1413, USA. Tel. (312) 322-5322

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