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 February 2015 Business Leaders Survey indicates that activity in the region’s service sector leveled off. The survey’s headline business activity index fell 15 points to 0.8. After rising to a level just above zero last month, the business climate index gave up those gains, signaling that, on balance, respondents viewed the business climate as worse than normal. The employment index held steady at 16.9, pointing to continued solid gains in employment, and the wages index rose for a second consecutive month, to 35.4, indicating a faster pace of wage growth. The prices paid index climbed 12 points to 51.5, pointing to steeper input price increases, while the prices received index dropped six points to 6.2, signifying a slower pace of selling price increases. Indexes assessing the six-month outlook suggested that firms remained optimistic about future conditions.
Business activity leveled off in the region’s service sector, according to the February 2015 survey. The survey’s headline business activity index fell 15 points to 0.8. This month, 32 percent of respondents reported that conditions improved, and 31 percent reported that conditions worsened. After rising out of negative territory last month, the business climate index gave up its gains, falling nine points to -8.4, indicating that, on balance, firms viewed the business climate as worse than normal.
Employment Continues to Expand, Wage Growth Picks Up
The employment index inched up to 16.9, pointing to continued moderate gains in employment levels. The index for wages rose for a second consecutive month, climbing six points to 35.4, a sign that the pace of growth in wages picked up. The prices paid index rose 12 points to 51.5, indicating that input prices grew at a faster pace. The prices received index fell six points to 6.2, pointing to slower selling price increases. The capital spending index was little changed at 16.3, suggesting continued growth in capital expenditures.
Outlook Remains Optimistic
Indexes assessing the six-month outlook suggested that firms continued to be optimistic about future business conditions. The index for expected business activity edged up two points to 37.4, and the index for future business climate advanced seven points to 33.3. The index for expected employment fell two points to 25.6. The index for expected wages, though several points lower than last month, suggests that respondents continue to expect faster wage growth in the months ahead. The future prices paid and prices received indexes were higher, and the index for expected capital spending fell four points to 15.2.
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.