By Jon Relleen of the Bank’s Greater London Agency and David Copple, Matthew Corder and Nicholas Fawcett of the Bank’s Structural Economic Analysis Division.
The Bank’s Agents collect economic intelligence from the business community around the United Kingdom, enriching the range of information available to the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC). The intelligence is largely qualitative, but Agents also make quantitative judgements in the form of scores. The Bank has published Agents’ macroeconomic scores each month since 2006. In addition, since 2007, Agents have assigned ‘company visit scores’ based on information gathered from their confidential meetings with individual UK firms. This internal data set covers a broad cross-section of UK companies and has become helpful to the MPC when considering business conditions and particularly for considering differences across companies. The scores have been used recently to try to understand better trends both in productivity and in the level of spare capacity within firms, on which there is a paucity of alternative data sources.