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Economy in Brief

U.S. Chicago Fed Index Improves Moderately
by Tom Moeller  July 23, 2012

The National Activity Index (CFNAI) from the Chicago Federal Reserve improved to -0.15 from a revised -0.48 in May, reported as -0.45 last month. The three-month moving rose to -0.20 but remained near its lowest reading since June of last year. 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 occurred primarily in the Production & Income series. Personal Consumption & Housing also improved but Employment, Unemployment & Hours deteriorated along with Sales, Orders & Inventories. The Chicago Fed reported that in June, 40 of the 85 individual indicators made positive contributions to the index while 45 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.

Central Bank Cooperation in Times of Crisis is Friday's speech by Fed Governor Elizabeth A. Duke and it is available here.


Chicago Federal Reserve Bank Jun May Apr Jun '11 2011 2010 2009
CFNAI -0.15 -0.48 0.04 -0.32 -0.06 0.00 -1.62
 3-Month Moving Average -0.20 -0.38 -0.16 -0.48 -- -- --
  Personal Consumption & Housing -0.23 -0.26 -0.26 -0.31 -0.31 -0.31 -0.35
  Employment, Unemployment & Hours 0.00 0.05 -0.12 -0.05 0.12 0.03 -0.82
  Production & Income 0.13 -0.27 0.34 -0.06 0.09 0.22 -0.27
  Sales, Orders & Inventories -0.06 0.00 0.06 0.08 0.04 0.08 -0.16
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