Changes to the Regional Network from 2023
The Regional Network has been improved to increase the quality of the information and the user-friendliness of survey results.
Norges Bank’s Regional Network was established in 2002. Its purpose is to obtain fresh information about cyclical developments in the Norwegian economy and to increase the understanding of the driving forces in the economy. Information is gathered through regular interviews of a broad sample of enterprises from across different industries and locations in Norway. In the Regional Network, Norway is divided into seven regions, and local research institutes conduct the majority of the interviews. Enterprises respond to the same set of recurring questions on topic including output, employment and capacity utilisation.
Information from the network has proved to provide a reliable indication of Norwegian economic developments and is used actively in the Bank’s analyses and forecasting. To further increase the quality of the information and the user-friendliness of survey results, some changes are now being made to the Regional Network that will enter into force with the first Regional Network survey of 2023.
Changes in the collection of information
Going forward, each of the four survey periods will be split into two sub-surveys. The first sub-survey will be conducted in the beginning of the period and the second towards the end. There will therefore still be four main survey periods. However, the division of each main survey period will likely be particularly useful in periods of unforeseen events and rapid economic change. Norges Bank will continue to publish overall data and reports for each of the main survey periods but will also comment on changes between the two sub-surveys when necessary.
Norges Bank will increase the number of participating enterprises in each main survey period. At the same time, local government and hospital sector contacts will be removed from the sample, as information from these contacts is largely available from other sources and therefore provides little additional information. These contacts have also only been included in some of the previous data series, including labour shortage and annual wage growth.
Going forward, regional series will be replaced with a sentiment indicator for each region. A number of the regional time series have been based on very small number of contacts, and regional indicators are likely to more accurately capture differences in economic development across Norway. Contacts will be asked to score their overall impression of the situation at their enterprise, in the light of factors such as demand, the outlook and profitability. A score of 0 indicates a normal situation. The regional indicators are calculated as an average of contacts’ responses in each of the seven regions.
Changes in survey periods, questions and scale
Going forward, survey questions will be linked to quarterly or annual time periods, for example, output growth in the current quarter. This ensures that the responses of all the contacts in the same main survey period will be for the same time period, regardless of the period in which the interview is conducted. By linking the questions to fixed time periods, responses will be more user-friendly and easier to compare with other expectations and projections.
The changes will also place greater weight on expectations. This is a logical change and reflects the fact that greater availability and frequency of publicly available statistics has reduced the need for backward-looking information.
The scale for most of the Regional Network series has ranged from -5 to +5. The time series have now been changed to show rates of increase in percent. Norges Bank has calculated historical values for all the data series, which will be available in Norges Bank’s data warehouse from the middle of March 2023. The time series will be updated in the Bank’s data warehouse as new values become available.
Norges Bank has gathered information on price expectations through both the Regional Network survey and the Expectations Survey. Historically, the Expectations Survey has been used to a far greater extent in inflation projections. The Bank has therefore chosen to remove questions regarding inflation from the Regional Network survey. When the Bank has questions about specific conditions relating to inflation, these will be asked in separate special topics.
See the updated interview guide (pdf) (Norwegian only) which shows the main topics of the interviews.