Atlanta Fed index

Release Date: At about the 12th day of the new month
Release Time: Usually at 9:00am Eastern US time
Released By: Regional Economic Information Network (REIN)


The Atlanta Fed Index is a monthly survey that is conducted by the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, of manufacturing companies that are located in the south-eastern part of the United States. The index is also known as the Southeastern Manufacturing Survey, or also as the Atlanta Regional Production Index.

The Atlanta Fed Index usually tracks both current and expected indexes for production, shipments/supplier deliveries, finished inventories, employment, commodity prices and new orders in the states of Alabama, Georgia, Florida and parts of Tennessee, Louisiana and Mississippi. The main parameters used in the calculation do not usually include the commodity prices, which are usually compiled by the Cole’s Colleges Econometric Centre.

Out of the similar reports published by the other Federal Reserve Banks, the Atlanta Fed Index is the most closely watched because it is viewed as important indicator of the state of the manufacturing industry in the states that the report covers. The south-eastern part of the United States is where most of the heavy duty manufacturing is located.

Time of Release

The Atlanta Fed Index is usually released on a monthly basis, and usually covers the manufacturing data for the previous month in the states concerned. The release time is usually at 9am Eastern US time, at about the 12th day of the new month. Information about this news release is usually obtained from the Regional Economic Information Network (REIN) webpage of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta website (http://southpoint.frbatlanta.org or http://www.frbatlanta.org/rein).

Interpreting the Data

One of the pieces of data that the Atlanta Federal Reserve bank uses in its calculation is the Southeast Purchasing Managers Index (Southeast PMI) which is released by the Kennesaw State University’s Econometric Centre. The benchmark reading of the Southeast PMI is 50. A reading above 50 indicates an expansion of the manufacturing sector in the 6 states, while a reading below 50 indicates manufacturing contraction in the affected states.

The Atlanta Fed Index itself has its baseline benchmark set at zero. A positive index reading (i.e. value above 0) therefore indicates that there has been an increase in manufacturing activity in the Southeastern US, while a negative index reading (less than zero) shows reduced manufacturing activity in the six states covered by the Atlanta Federal Reserve bank. As a trading indicator, this report is of little market significance. More important manufacturing data would have been released by then and when compared to some of the more important manufacturing data (e.g. the nationwide Purchasing Managers Index or Ivey’s PMI), it does not confer much significance in terms of what to trade. However, when combined with other regional manufacturing indices, it serves to give the overall picture of the state of manufacturing in the United States.

Conclusion

When there is increased manufacturing, it indicates a stronger economy, more consumer spending and more jobs. The Atlanta Fed Index can therefore be combined with other manufacturing data to give an indication of how the Non-Farm Payrolls report will eventually turn out. So while the Atlanta Fed Index in itself is not tradable and hardly appears on the economic calendar, it is an indicator that can be used to piece together information for more relevant trades based on manufacturing and employment data in the US.