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 four months of the year, upward over the next five months, and then downward in two of the final three months of the year (see Chart). The largest one-month revision for the current activity index was for August — the index was revised up 5 points.
For December 2012, the current activity index was revised downward to 4.6 from a previously reported reading of 8.1. The six-month future activity index was also revised downward (see Chart) to 23.7 from a previously reported reading of 30.9 (a 7.2 point difference).
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