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 employment 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.
Brent H. Meyer, Emil Mihaylov, Jose Maria Barrero, Steven J. Davis, David Altig & Nicholas Bloom, "Pandemic-Era Uncertainty", NBER Working Paper 29958, April 2022.
Philip Bunn, David E. Altig, Lena Anayi, Jose Maria Barrero, Nicholas Bloom, Steven Davis, Brent Meyer, Emil Mihaylov, Paul Mizen, Gregory Thwaites. COVID-19 uncertainty: A tale of two tails.VoxEU.org, 16 November 2021
David Altig, Jose Maria Barrero, Nicholas Bloom, Steven J. Davis, Brent Meyer, Nicholas Parker, "Surveying business uncertainty," Journal of Econometrics, September 2020.
David E. Altig, Scott Baker, Jose Maria Barrero, Nicholas Bloom, Philip Bunn, Scarlet Chen, Steven Davis, Julia Leather, Brent Meyer, Emil Mihaylov, Paul Mizen, Nicholas Parker, Thomas Renault, Pawel Smietanka, Gregory Thwaites, "Economic uncertainty in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic", 24 July 2020.
Dave Altig, Scott Brent Baker, Jose Maria Barrero, Nick Bloom, Phil Bunn, Scarlet Chen, Steven J. Davis, Brent Meyer, Emil Mihaylov, Paul Mizen, Nick Parker, Thomas Renault, Pawel Smietanka, and Greg Thwaites, "Economic Uncertainty before and during the COVID-19 Pandemic," Atlanta Fed Working Paper 2020-9, July 2020.
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
Jose Maria Barrero is an Assistant Professor of Finance at Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México, where he conducts empirical and quantitative research in macroeconomics and finance, focusing on firm behavior under uncertainty. He joined the SBU research team while he was a PhD student at Stanford University. He holds a BA in Economics and Mathematics from the University of Pennsylvania and an MA and PhD in Economics from Stanford University.
Nicholas (Nick) 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
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 is an policy adviser and economist in the research department at the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. His primary research interests include firm behavior, survey methods, inflation, inflation expectations, macroeconomics, and monetary policy. In addition to providing monetary policy support, Meyer heads up our Economic Survey Research Center (ESRC), is involved in research using our Business Inflation Expectations (BIE), Survey of Business Uncertainty (SBU), and CFO surveys, contributes to the Atlanta Fed's Inflation Project, and to the Atlanta Fed's macroblog, which provides commentary on economic topics, including monetary policy, macroeconomic developments, and the Southeast economy. Meyer earned a bachelor's degree in economics from Hillsdale College and a master's degree in economics from Bowling Green State University.
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.
Lead Panel Coordinators
Ana Arvizu Ávila
Pedro Martins Affonso
Why do we conduct this survey?
The SBU elicits a 5-point probability distribution over 12-month-ahead sales, and employment 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 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 "Surveying Business Uncertainty" by David Altig, Jose Maria Barrero, Nicholas Bloom, Mike Bryan, Steven J. Davis, Brent H. Meyer, and Nicholas Parker. Additional information about the methods used for the survey can be found in the accompanying slide deck.
Sample Survey Forms
Panel members are split evenly into two groups. A given panel member will rotate between the sales revenue and employment forms, responding to each questionnaire every other month. In addition to the core survey questions posed in the forms below, we typically ask at least one special question each month.