The monthly survey gathers information from manufacturers in the Third Federal Reserve District about current conditions at their plants and their expectations for the future. In this article, Mike Trebing evaluates whether the survey provides new information on short-term changes in the regional and national manufacturing sectors.

Financial journalists and market participants have focused a great deal of attention in recent years on the Business Outlook Survey (BOS) conducted by the Philadelphia Fed. The survey results are reported by the major financial wire services immediately after their release. This monthly survey seeks information from manufacturers in the Third Federal Reserve District about current conditions at their plants and their expectations for the future. The survey has been conducted monthly since 1968 and offers a valuable source of information in tracking developments in the District’s manufacturing sector.

How useful is the survey in providing new information on the broader economy? Clearly, market participants see value in the survey results. Statistical analysis offers evidence that the survey provides information on short-term changes in the regional and national manufacturing sectors.

This article appeared in the September/October 1998 edition of Business Review.