Business Leaders Survey

A monthly survey of service firms in New York State, northern New Jersey and southwestern Connecticut, conducted by the New York Fed.


Note: Survey responses were collected between September 2 and September 9.

Download the full report pdf
Activity in the region’s service sector declined modestly, according to firms responding to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s September 2020 Business Leaders Survey. The survey’s headline business activity index rose twelve points to -5.4, pointing to a slower pace of decline than in August. The business climate index rose eight points to -66.5, indicating that firms viewed the business climate as worse than normal, though to a somewhat lesser extent than last month. Employment levels continued to decline, though only modestly, and wages were higher. Input prices increased at the same pace as last month, while selling prices stabilized. Capital spending fell for a sixth consecutive month. Looking ahead, firms were just slightly optimistic about the six-month outlook, on net, and expected the business climate to remain worse than normal in the months ahead.

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Historical Reports >>

Latest Report including charts of diffusion indexes PDF

Historical Tables

Diffusion Indexes

Data definitions PDF 2 pages / 10 kb

All Data

Data definitions PDF 2 pages / 10 kb

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.

For demonstration only:
Sample survey PDF 3 pages / 44 kb

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.

Tech help:

Questions about survey/data: or (716) 849-5025; or (212) 720-5651

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