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In January of each year, the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia revises historical data for the Business Outlook Survey after calculating new seasonal adjustment factors. Because survey responses are characterized by seasonal patterns, new seasonal factors are calculated annually based on the addition of a complete year of data.
While this year's revisions altered levels of the indexes for certain months, the general pattern of month-to-month change in most series was similar. In general, the current general activity index was revised downward over the first five months of the year, upward over the next five months, and downward in the final two months of the year (see Chart). The largest revision for the current activity index was for the month of August — the index was revised up 8 points (from the extraordinarily low one-month reading of -30.7, to a revised reading of -22.7).
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