Business and consumer surveys provide essential information for economic surveillance, short-term forecasting and economic research. Moreover, they are widely used to detect turning points in the economic cycle. Surveys are therefore a key complement to official statistics, which are often available after long delays.
Business and Consumer Surveys are compiled in accordance with the framework of the Joint Harmonized EU Program of Business and Consumer Surveys - for the following fields: industry, retail trade, building, service sector, investment and consumer. Nowadays the Program includes the current 28 Member States of the European Union.
Confidence indicators are computed for industry, services, building, retail trade and consumers. A composite Economic Sentiment Indicator (ESI) is also computed as an indicator of developments in the industrial, services, construction, consumer and retail trade sectors.
Figures are presented as seasonally adjusted balances, defined as the difference (in percentage points of total answers) between positive and negative answers. Exceptions: ESI (index), confidence indicators (arithmetic average of balances), current level of capacity utilization (percentage) and estimated months of production assured by orders (number of months).
Figures are seasonally adjusted if the series contain at least 36 monthly or 12 quarterly observations.
In general, data are disseminated starting in 1985. For some countries and the service survey, information is only partially available.
Revisions are rare
For more detailed information please refer to: http://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/cache/metadata/en/ei_bcs_esms.htm