Survey of Business Uncertainty

banner for the Survey of Business Uncertainty

In partnership with Steven Davis of the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and Nicholas Bloom of Stanford University, the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta has created the Atlanta Fed/Chicago Booth/Stanford Survey of Business Uncertainty (SBU). This innovative panel survey measures the one-year-ahead expectations and uncertainties that firms have about their own costs, employment, capital investment, and sales. The sample covers all regions of the U.S. economy, every industry sector except agriculture and government, and a broad range of firm sizes.

  • Interactive Data

  • Researcher Biographies

    Dave Altig

    photo of Dave Altig

    Dave Altig is executive vice president and director of research at the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. In addition to advising the Bank president on monetary policy and related matters, Dr. Altig oversees the Bank's regional executives and the Bank's research department. He also serves as a member of the Bank's management and discount committees. He leads the Atlanta Fed's macroblog, which provides commentary on economic topics, including monetary policy, macroeconomic developments, and the Southeast economy.

    Jose Maria Barrero

    Photo of Jose Maria Barrero

    Jose Maria Barrero is a PhD student at Stanford University's economics department. His research focuses on how businesses make decisions under risk and uncertainty, and how they react to unforeseen shocks. Barrero's work explores the link between microeconomic behavior at the firm level and macroeconomic performance by combining data analysis and macroeconomic modeling. He holds a BA in economics and mathematics from the University of Pennsylvania and an MA in economics from Stanford.

    Nicholas (Nick) Bloom

    photo of Nicholas Bloom

    Nick Bloom is a professor of economics at Stanford University and a codirector of the Productivity, Innovation and Entrepreneurship program at the National Bureau of Economic Research. His research focuses on management practices and uncertainty. He previously worked at the U.K. Treasury and McKinsey & Company. He holds a bachelor's degree from Cambridge University, a master's degree from Oxford University, and a PhD from University College London.

    Steven J. Davis

    photo of Steven J. Davis

    Steven J. Davis is a professor of economics at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and senior fellow at the Hoover Institution. His research focuses on labor market outcomes, business performance, economic fluctuations, and uncertainty. He is an elected fellow of the Society of Labor Economists, former editor of the American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, economic adviser to the U.S. Congressional Budget Office, and senior fellow with the Asian Bureau of Finance and Economics Research. He is also a co-creator of the Economic Policy Uncertainty Indices, and he co-organizes the Asian Monetary Policy Forum, held annually in Singapore. Davis received a PhD in economics from Brown University in 1986 and joined the Booth faculty in 1985.

    Brent Meyer

    photo of Brent Meyer

    Brent Meyer is an associate policy adviser and economist in the research department at the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. His primary research interests include inflation and prices, monetary policy, and macroeconomic forecasting. In addition to providing monetary policy support, Meyer contributes to the Atlanta Fed's Inflation Project, an online dashboard offering an array of data and survey results on inflation, and to the Atlanta Fed's macroblog, which provides commentary on economic topics, including monetary policy, macroeconomic developments, and the regional economy. Meyer earned a bachelor's degree in economics from Hillsdale College and a master's degree in economics from Bowling Green State University.

    Nicholas Parker

    Photo of Nicholas Parker

    Nicholas Parker is survey director in the Research Department at the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. He works primarily on business survey design and methodology, including questionnaire design, cognitive testing, and usability testing as well as the analysis and communication of survey results to policymakers, researchers, and the general public. He also provides methodological and analytical support for other data collection efforts, including those conducted by the Atlanta Fed's Regional Economic Information Network. Parker earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Tampa and continues to pursue graduate studies in survey methodology and data science at the Joint Program in Survey Methodology at the University of Maryland.

    Past Contributor

    Mike Bryan

    photo of Mike Bryan

    Michael Bryan was a vice president and senior economist in the research department of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, where he was responsible for organizing the Atlanta Fed’s monetary policy process. He came to the Atlanta Fed in 2008, and retired from there in 2016. Before coming to Atlanta, Bryan was at the Cleveland Fed, where he had spent 30 years in positions of increasing responsibility. Bryan is currently serving on the faculty of the University of South Carolina.

    Panel Coordinators

    Mehak AhmedMehak Ahmed
    Khadira BeechKhadira Beech
    Albert HuneckeAlbert Hunecke
    Vanessa VillalpandoVanessa Villalpando
    Ray XieRay Xie

  • About the Survey

    Why do we conduct this survey?

    The SBU elicits a 5-point probability distribution over 12-month-ahead sales, employment, unit costs, and capital expenditures for each firm. It also elicits current values of these quantities. The survey’s innovative design allows the calculation of each firm’s expected growth rate over the next year and its degree of uncertainty about its expectations. Policy makers and researchers can use SBU data to help forecast economic activity and better understand how business expectations and uncertainty affect employment, sales, investment, and other economic outcomes.

    The Survey of Business Uncertainty Partnership

    The Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta fields the Survey of Business Uncertainty in partnership with Steven Davis of the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and Nick Bloom of Stanford University. Davis and Bloom are the creators of the Economic Policy Uncertainty (EPU) indices and experts in the field.

    For Technical Information about the SBU

    Please consult "Survey of Business Uncertainty" Adobe PDF file format by David Altig, Jose Maria Barrero, Nicholas Bloom, Mike Bryan, Steven J. Davis, Brent H. Meyer, and Nicholas Parker.

    Sample Survey Forms

    Each survey form below goes to about half the panel members each month. A given panel member alternates between the two forms from month to month. In addition to the core survey questions posed in the forms below, we typically ask at least one special question each month.

    Survey Release Dates

    The Survey of Business Uncertainty will be released by 11 a.m. ET on the following dates:

    • December 28, 2018
    • January 30, 2019
    • February 27, 2019
    • March 27, 2019
    • April 24, 2019
    • May 29, 2019
    • June 26, 2019
    • July 31, 2019
    • August 28, 2019
    • September 25, 2019
    • October 30, 2019
    • November 27, 2019
    • December 23, 2019
  • About the Panel

    geographic distribution of Survey of Business Uncertainty contributors and panelists
  • Resources

  • SBU in the Media