Firms’ Year-Ahead Inflation Forecast And Passing Costs To Customers

The Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta publishes a monthly report titled “Business Inflation Expectations” (BIE) that contains statistics from a survey of regional businesses’ views on various factors that impact profitability.  These factors include unit costs, unit cost expectations, sales levels, profit margins, and other factors.

As described on the site:

Approximately 300 panelists receive the survey each month. Panelists represent businesses of various sizes headquartered within the Sixth District, which encompasses Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and sections of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Tennessee. Panelists range from executives of large corporations to owner-operators of small businesses. The industry composition of the panel roughly reflects the makeup of the national economy. Nevertheless, survey responses are weighted by industry shares of national gross domestic product.

An excerpt from the November 2018 BIE Survey dated November 14, 2018 (involving 193 firms responding):

  • Inflation expectations: Firms’ inflation expectations were virtually unchanged at 2.2 percent over the year ahead.


  • Quarterly question: The majority of firms expect labor costs and non-labor costs to put moderate to upward influence on their prices over the next 12 months. Most firms anticipate sales levels, productivity, and margin adjustments to have little or no influence on prices over the year ahead.
  • Special question: Firms provided an estimate of the percentage of their expected unit cost increase over the next 12 months they anticipate passing on to their customers (“pass through percentage”). The median pass through percentage was 75 percent. Roughly one quarter of the panel noted their expected pass through percentage was higher than normal.

The report also includes other questions and a variety of charts and tables depicting respondents’ answers.


RevSD, LLC offers the above commentary for informational purposes only, and does not necessarily agree with all (or any) of the views expressed by these outside parties.

—– is published by RevSD, LLC.  RevSD, LLC is a management consulting firm and strategic advisory that focuses on the analysis of current and future business conditions, and given these conditions, offers corporations and businesses advice, strategies, and actionable methods on how to optimally increase revenues and profitability.