Business Inflation Expectations

The BIE was created to measure the year-ahead inflationary sentiments of businesses in the Sixth District. It also helps inform our view of the sources of cost changes and provides insight into the factors driving business' pricing decisions.

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Business Inflation Expectations Virtually Unchanged at 1.5 Percent - May 2020

  • Inflation expectations: Firms' year-ahead inflation expectations went virtually unchanged at 1.5 percent, on average.
  • Current economic environment: Sales levels and profit margins "compared to normal" remain at historically low levels. Year-over-year unit cost growth remains at 1.2 percent, on average.
  • Quarterly question: The majority of firms expect labor costs and non-labor costs to put moderate upward influence on prices over the next twelve months.
  • Special question: Firms indicated the degree of disruption they've experienced with regard to their sales activity, suppliers/supply chains, and ability to maintain adequate staffing levels as a result of the outbreak of COVID-19. They also provided their expectations of when these elements of their business might be free of disruption. A breakdown of the results can be found in the special question section below.
Click on a marker to view that month's results summary (starting January 2012).

Source: Atlanta Fed Business Inflation Expectations (BIE) Survey


Standard Questions

The questions below are asked each month to assess the firm’s current business environment and inflation expectations.

Question 1. How do your current sales levels compare with sales levels during what you consider to be "normal" times?

Show Diffusion | Show Response Breakdown

Source: Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta

Source: Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta

Question 2. How do your current profit margins compare with "normal" times?

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Source: Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta

Source: Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta

Question 3. Looking back, how do your unit costs compare with this time last year?

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Source: Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta

Source: Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta

Question 4. Projecting ahead, to the best of your ability, please assign a percent likelihood to the following changes to unit costs over the next 12 months.

Show Time Series | Show Response Breakdown

Source: Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta

Source: Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta


Rotating Questions

Each question is asked once per quarter in the order indicated below.

Quarterly Question: By roughly what percent are your firm's unit sales levels above/below "normal," if at all?

Source: Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta

Quarterly Question: Projecting ahead over the next 12 months, how do you think the following five common influences will affect the prices of your products and/or services?

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Source: Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta

Source: Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta

Show Diffusion | Show Response Breakdown

Source: Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta

Source: Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta

Show Diffusion | Show Response Breakdown

Source: Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta

Source: Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta

Show Diffusion | Show Response Breakdown

Source: Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta

Source: Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta

Show Diffusion | Show Response Breakdown

Source: Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta

Source: Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta

Quarterly Question: Projecting ahead, to the best of your ability, please assign a percent likelihood to the following changes to unit costs per year over the next FIVE TO 10 years.

Show Time Series | Show Response Breakdown

Source: Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta

Source: Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta


Special Questions

Typically a unique question is asked each month exploring a current topic of interest to policymakers.

Special Question