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Economy in Brief

Chicago Fed Nat'l Activity Index Positive
by Tom Moeller January 22, 2007

For the first month since August, the National Activity Index (CFNAI) from the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago turned modestly positive in December. The reading of 0.04 was the first in positive territory since a similar reading in August.

The three-month moving average of the CFNAI, however, remained negative at -0.19 and for the whole year 2006 the index's level of zero was the lowest in three years.

A zero value of the CFNAI indicates that the economy is expanding at its historical trend rate of growth and during the last twenty years there has been a 68% correlation between the level of the CFNAI and q/q growth in real GDP.

Production contributed positively to the December index but the contribution from employment was negative.

The CFNAI is a weighted average of 85 indicators of economic activity. The indicators reflect activity in the following categories: production and income, the labor market, personal consumption and housing, manufacturing and trade sales, and inventories & orders.

The complete CFNAI report is available here.

Understanding Unemployment from the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland can be found here.

Chicago Fed December November December '05 2006 2005 2004
CFNAI 0.04 -0.30 0.49 0.00 0.21 0.30
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