The Philadelphia Federal Index (also known as the Philadelphia Fed Index or the Business Outlook Survey) is a report published monthly by the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
Companies surveyed indicate the direction of change in their overall business activity and in the various measures of activity at their plants.
The index signals expansion when it is above zero and contraction when below zero.
This index is considered to be a good indicator of changes in everything from employment, general prices, and conditions within the manufacturing industry.
The survey is released three weeks into the month and includes data from the previous month.
For example, June’s report would include data about May.
What is the Philadelphia Fed Index?
The report is based on a survey of questions administered to employees and owners in participating manufacturing sector industries across Philadelphia, New Jersey, and Delaware.
Participants are asked about the overall change in their business activities for that month.
Based on the survey, the report generates a number, either negative or positive.
A number below zero indicates that the manufacturing sector is contracting, while a number above zero indicates that business is expanding.
The report also features comparisons between the current month and the previous month, as well as a six-month overview of past reports.
Expansion or contraction of manufacturing can be a leading indicator of the behavior of a country’s economy as a whole.
Although this is a regional report, traders consider it to be a good prediction of the information on the Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI), which comes out a few days later and covers the entire U.S.