Manufacturing Business Outlook Survey

Philadelphia Fed Researchers Weighing How the
Pandemic Affected Seasonal Adjustment Approach

The seasonal factors that our researchers at the Philadelphia Fed use to calculate the survey’s diffusion indexes were affected by atypical patterns because of the onset of the pandemic one year ago. For several variables, revised seasonal factors shifted by much more than is normal. For those variables, the diffusion indexes are overstated during months in which the unadjusted data are normally high and are understated during months in which the unadjusted data are normally low. We may revise our seasonal adjustment approach after further investigation.

The Manufacturing Business Outlook Survey is a monthly survey of manufacturers in the Third Federal Reserve District. Participants indicate the direction of change in overall business activity and in the various measures of activity at their plants: employment, working hours, new and unfilled orders, shipments, inventories, delivery times, prices paid, and prices received. The survey has been conducted each month since May 1968.

We take measures to ensure the information is published on our website after 8:30 a.m. We cannot guarantee exact timing or order of publication. We may, without notice and from time to time, revise the content available on this website; however, we make no commitment to do so.

For those who wish to know the exact order of publication, our intention, in the ordinary course, is for the .txt file containing all release details to precede all other supplemental web and historical data files. As an example, you can download the January 2016 release.