Each month since November 1993, the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond has conducted the Survey of Service Sector Activity. The survey is sent electronically to retailers, wholesalers, and other services firms that are selected for participation according to their type of business, location, and firm size.
About 200 contacts receive questionnaires and approximately 90 to 95 of those surveyed respond in a typical month. Respondents report on various aspects of their business, such as revenues, employment, wages, prices, and expectations for business activity during the next six months. Additionally, retailers provide information on big-ticket sales, inventories, and shopper traffic.
Participants indicate whether measures of activity increased, were unchanged, or decreased since the previous survey. The responses are converted into diffusion indexes by subtracting the percent reporting a decrease from the percent reporting an increase. Seasonal adjustments are recalculated annually in July to better reflect current economic trends; however, we make no commitment in this regard.
The summary results of each survey are provided to the public on the fourth Tuesday of the month. The summary results of each survey are released to the public at 10:00 a.m. on the fourth Tuesday of the month. While we expect to adhere to this schedule, we cannot guarantee the timing nor content of the release.
Corrections to historical data are described in an Errata document available on this website. Please note that such corrections are not reflected in the PDF versions of the monthly reports.