The Federal Reserve Bank of New York works to promote sound and well-functioning financial systems and markets through its provision of industry and payment services, advancement of infrastructure reform in key markets and training and educational support to international institutions.
The Outreach and Education function engages, empowers and educates the Second District communities that the Bank serves, especially civic leaders, students, educators, small business owners, policymakers and the general public. It furthers the Bank's commitment to the region by listening to the communities we serve and leveraging our unique attributes to positively impact school and university programs, as well as analysis and research.
The Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s April 2015 Business Leaders Survey indicates that activity in the region’s service sector expanded following a pause in February and March. The survey’s headline business activity index climbed twelve points to 10.8. The business climate index was higher this month, but remained negative at -6.9, signaling that, on balance, respondents continued to view the business climate as worse than normal. The employment index crept down to 11.0, holding at a level that points to continued employment gains, and the wages index fell twelve points to 29.7, an indication that wage increases slowed over the month. The prices paid index held steady at 41.1, and the prices received index edged down to 8.6. Indexes assessing the six-month outlook suggested that firms remained optimistic about future conditions, although the index for future business activity fell from its record high set last month.
Following lackluster reports in the February and March surveys, the April 2015 survey indicates that business activity expanded in the region’s service sector. The survey’s headline business activity index climbed twelve points to 10.8, its first significant positive reading since January. This month, 33 percent of respondents reported that conditions improved, while 22 percent reported that conditions worsened. The business climate index rose six points to -6.9, indicating that, on balance, firms continued to view the business climate as worse than normal, although to a lesser degree than last month.
Wage Growth Slows
The employment index pointed to continued growth in employment levels, but, at 11.0, the index was somewhat lower than last month. After rising for three consecutive months, the wages index fell twelve points to 29.7, signaling that the pace of growth in wages slowed this month. The prices paid index held steady at 41.1, an indication that the pace of input price increases was unchanged. The prices received index edged down three points to 8.6, pointing to a modest pace of selling price increases. The capital spending index was little changed at 11.0, suggesting continued growth in capital expenditures.
Outlook Remains Optimistic
Indexes assessing the six-month outlook suggested that firms remained optimistic about future business conditions. After reaching a record high in March, the index for expected business activity fell fourteen points to 40.0, still a fairly high level. The index for future business climate fell to 27.5. The index for expected employment rose two points to 35.0, indicating that strong employment gains are expected in the months ahead, and the index for expected capital spending declined four points to 20.7.
The Business Leaders Survey is a monthly survey conducted by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York that asks companies across its District – which includes New York State, Northern New Jersey, and Fairfield County, Connecticut – about recent and expected trends in key business indicators. This survey is designed to parallel the Empire State Manufacturing Survey, though it covers a wider geography and the questions are slightly different. Participants from the service sector respond to a questionnaire and report on a variety of indicators' both in terms of recent and expected changes. While January 2014 is the first published report, survey responses date back to September of 2004 and all historical data are available on our website.
The survey is sent on the first business day of each month to the same pool of about 150 business executives, usually the president or CEO, in the region's service sector. In a typical month, about 100 responses are received by around the tenth of the month when the survey closes.
Respondents come from a wide range of industries outside of the manufacturing sector, with the mix of respondents closely resembling the industry structure of the region.
The survey's headline index, general business activity, is a distinct question posed on the survey (as opposed to a composite of responses to other questions). Currently, no indexes are seasonally adjusted since none of the series exhibits stable seasonal patterns from a statistical perspective.