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Atlanta Fed Business Inflation Expectations

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Definition of 'Atlanta Fed Business Inflation Expectations'

How is the survey conducted?

Each month, on the Monday during the week of the consumer price index release, panelists receive an e-mail with a secure link to the online survey. The survey is open through 6 p.m. Friday of that week.

Who participates in the survey?

Approximately 300 panelists receive the survey each month. Panelists represent businesses of various sizes headquartered within the Sixth District, which encompasses Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and sections of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Tennessee. Panelists range from executives of large corporations to owner-operators of small businesses. The industry composition of the panel roughly reflects the makeup of the national economy. Nevertheless, survey responses are weighted by industry shares of national gross domestic product.

How are expectations calculated?

Each panelist is asked to assign a probability to six potential outcomes for unit costs over the upcoming 12 months. The probabilistic mean of these outcomes represents the panelists' year-ahead expectations for unit costs.

How is inflation uncertainty calculated?

The same probability data used to construct year-ahead inflation expectations are also used to compute inflation uncertainty. The variance of a panelist's probability data represents that individual's uncertainty about the inflation outlook. The average of these variances represents inflation uncertainty for the panel as a whole.

What is the schedule of releases?

The survey period runs from Monday to Friday, typically at mid-month. Survey release dates are scheduled for the following Wednesday, except in cases where the release would conflict with the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) blackout period, which begins one week before meetings of the FOMC and lasts until the Friday following the meeting. In such cases, the release is changed to respect the FOMC's communications guidelines.

Schedule of release dates for 2013:
January 16
February 13
March 22
April 17
May 15
June 21
July 17
August 14
September 20
October 16
November 13
December 20

What is the purpose of "special questions"?

In addition to gauging firms' price-setting environment and year-ahead unit cost expectations, the Atlanta Fed uses the survey to investigate issues of longer-term interest for research and policy. Frequently, they will ask a "special question" designed for this purpose.

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