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Economy in Brief

U.S. Chicago Fed Index Improves
by Tom Moeller  May 21, 2012

The April National Activity Index (CFNAI) from the Chicago Federal Reserve improved to 0.11 from a revised -0.44 in March, last month reported as -0.29. However, the three-month moving deteriorated to -0.06, the first negative reading since November. During the last ten years there has been an 81% correlation between the Chicago Fed Index and the q/q change in real GDP

Month-to-month improvement was led by a higher production & income component to the best level since December. The other index components were roughly flat or down m/m,. The Chicago Fed reported that forty five of the 85 individual indicators made positive contributions to the index in April while 40 made negative contributions.

The CFNAI is a weighted average of 85 indicators of national economic activity. It is constructed to have an average value of zero and a standard deviation of one. Since economic activity tends toward trend growth rate over time, a positive index reading corresponds to growth above trend and a negative index reading corresponds to growth below trend.

The Chicago Federal Reserve figures are available in Haver's SURVEYS database.

Liquidity Shocks, Real Interest Rates, and Global Imbalances from the Federal Reserve Bank if St. Louis can be found here.

Chicago Federal Reserve Bank Apr Mar Feb Apr'11 2011 2010 2009
CFNAI 0.11 -0.44 0.13 -0.84 -0.06 0.00 -1.62
 3-Month Moving Average -0.06 0.02 0.38 -0.18 -- -- --
  Personal Consumption & Housing -0.26 -0.26 -0.23 -0.37 -0.32 -0.32 -0.36
  Employment, Unemployment & Hours 0.00 0.14 0.20 0.01 0.12 0.04 -0.82
  Production & Income 0.36 -0.31 0.21 -0.31 0.09 0.22 -0.27
  Sales, Orders & Inventories 0.01 -0.01 -0.03 -0.17 0.04 0.07 -0.16
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