Surveys should not be used as a primary basis for any economic argument. They are simply interesting commentary in an uncontrolled environment where respondents do not have to substantiate the information.
This month’s Philly Fed business outlook survey, using unadjusted data, has reverted to almost exact values of one year ago.
Econintersect has been unable to correlate surveys to any data, but there are a rash of predictions (but not data yet) that the business end of the economy is peaking. Econintersect made this call in late March.
According to the Philly Fed survey:
According to respondents to the May Business Outlook Survey, the region’s manufacturing sector grew, but at a slower pace this month. Most of the survey’s broad indicators fell but continued to signal overall expansion. A majority of firms continued to cite input price pressures and a sizable share of firms reported higher prices for their own manufactured
goods again this month. Indicators for future activity fell back sharply this month but continued to suggest that firms expect the current expansion in manufacturing to continue over the next six months.
Econintersect believes the important elements of this survey are new orders and unfilled orders. The number of respondents who thought new orders and unfilled orders were improving fell this month.
April 2010 Economic Forecast: Likely at Sub-Cycle Peak by Steven Hansen
Industrial Production Growth Stalls in April 2011 by Steven Hansen
Empire State Manufacturing Survey Less Good in May 2011 by Steven Hansen
Consumers Come to Terms with Frugality by Rick Davis
Business Sales Up Strongly in March 2011 by Steven Hansen
March Retail Sales: A Slight Decline in Real Terms by Doug Short