Business Outlook Survey - References

Access reference material to accompany the Business Outlook Survey (BOS).

A Reference Guide for the Business Outlook Survey

Staff Discussion Paper 2020-15 David Amirault, Naveen Rai, Laurent Martin
The Business Outlook Survey (BOS) has become an important part of monetary policy deliberations at the Bank of Canada and is also well known in Canadian policy and financial circles. This paper compiles more than 20 years of experience conducting the BOS and serves as a comprehensive reference manual.
April 4, 2022

Backgrounder on the Business Outlook Survey question on firms’ average expected wage increase

Firms participating in the Business Outlook Survey (BOS) are asked several questions about labour markets. One such question is whether they expect wage growth to increase or decrease over the next 12 months. The responses to this question, combined with related confidential comments, give a picture of the state of wage pressures in the economy. This, along with wage data and several labour market indicators, inform the Bank about labour market conditions.
October 19, 2020

Backgrounder on the Business Outlook Survey question on wage growth

Starting with the 2020 autumn survey, the results from a question on labour cost growth are being included in the Business Outlook Survey. This document describes the question and presents the correlations between the responses and various measures of wages and employment.

Assessing the Business Outlook Survey Indicator Using Real-Time Data

Staff Discussion Paper 2017-5 Lise Pichette, Marie-Noëlle Robitaille
Every quarter, the Bank of Canada conducts quarterly consultations with businesses across Canada, referred to as the Business Outlook Survey (BOS). A principal-component analysis conducted by Pichette and Rennison (2011) led to the development of the BOS indicator, which summarizes survey results and is used by the Bank as a gauge of overall business sentiment.

What’s Up with Unit Non-Response in the Bank of Canada’s Business Outlook Survey? The Effect of Staff Tenure

Staff Discussion Paper 2017-11 Sarah Miller, David Amirault, Laurent Martin
Since 1997, the Bank of Canada’s regional offices have been conducting the Business Outlook Survey (BOS), a quarterly survey of business conditions. Survey responses are gathered through face-to-face, confidential consultations with a sample of private sector firms representative of the various sectors, firm sizes and regions across Canada.
November 17, 2011

Extracting Information from the Business Outlook Survey: A Principal-Component Approach

This article reviews recent work that uses principal-component analysis to extract information common to indicators from the Bank of Canada’s Business Outlook Survey (BOS). The authors use correlation analysis and an out-of-sample forecasting exercise to assess and compare the information content of the principal component with that of responses to key individual survey questions on growth in real gross domestic product and in real business investment. Results suggest that summarizing the common movements among BOS indicators may provide useful information for forecasting near-term growth in business investment. For growth in real gross domestic product, however, the survey’s balance of opinion on future sales growth appears to be more informative.

The Bank of Canada's Business Outlook Survey: An Assessment

Staff Working Paper 2004-15 Monica Martin, Cristiano Papile
Since the autumn of 1997, the Bank of Canada's regional offices (located in Halifax, Montréal, Toronto, Calgary, and Vancouver) have conducted consultations with businesses across Canada on a quarterly basis. These consultations are now referred to as the Business Outlook Survey (BOS).
May 23, 2004

The Bank of Canada's Business Outlook Survey

Since the autumn of 1997, the regional offices of the Bank of Canada have conducted quarterly consultations with businesses across Canada. Timed to feed into the process that precedes the Bank's fixed dates for announcing monetary policy decisions, the consultations (now referred to as the Business Outlook Survey) are structured around a questionnaire which is sent to 100 firms that reflect the Canadian economy in terms of region, type of business activity, and firm size. Martin describes both the consultation process and the questionnaire and makes an initial assessment of the data gathered during the business interviews. The article includes charts and correlation tables that illustrate the responses to the key questions included in the survey.

Computing the Accuracy of Complex Non-Random Sampling Methods: The Case of the Bank of Canada's Business Outlook Survey

Staff Working Paper 2009-10 Daniel de Munnik, David Dupuis, Mark Illing
A number of central banks publish their own business conditions survey based on non-random sampling methods. The results of these surveys influence monetary policy decisions and thus affect expectations in financial markets. To date, however, no one has computed the statistical accuracy of these surveys because their respective non-random sampling method renders this assessment non-trivial.
October 22, 2005

How the Appreciation of the Canadian Dollar Has Affected Canadian Firms: Evidence from the Bank of Canada Business Outlook Survey

To track how firms were affected by the appreciation of the Canadian dollar in 2003 and 2004 and the steps they took in response, the Bank included supplementary questions in the quarterly Business Outlook Survey conducted by its regional offices. About half of the firms surveyed reported being adversely affected, one-quarter experienced a favourable impact, and the remainder reported no effect. Jean Mair classifies and summarizes the firms' responses, identifying the sectors that were most and least affected. Causes of the impacts are identified, as well as the actions firms took as a result of the appreciation. The article looks at these actions over time to see what they tell us about firms' adjustment process.