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Economy in Brief

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

The Chicago Federal Reserve reported that its National Activity Index (CFNAI) for November improved to 0.10 from a revised October reading of -0.64, last month reported as -0.56. The three-month moving average also rose to -0.20. During the last ten years, there has been an 81% correlation between the Chicago Fed Index and the q/q change in real GDP.

Improvement in the Production & Income component led last month's gain and rose to its highest level since last December. In addition, the Personal Consumption & Housing series improved slightly, These gains were, however, offset by deterioration in the Employment, Unemployment & Hours series as well as a lower Sales, Inventories & Inventories figure. The Chicago Fed reported that during November, 39 of the 85 individual indicators made positive contributions to the index while 46 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.


Chicago Federal Reserve Bank Nov Oct Sep Nov '11 2011 2010 2009
CFNAI 0.10 -0.64 -0.06 -0.29 0.03 -0.01 -1.63
 3-Month Moving Average -0.20 -0.59 -0.38 -0.13 -- -- --
  Personal Consumption & Housing -0.19 -0.25 -0.17 -0.25 -0.31 -0.30 -0.35
  Employment, Unemployment & Hours -0.06 0.10 0.12 0.12 0.12 0.03 -0.82
  Production & Income 0.41 -0.54 -0.06 -0.14 0.09 0.22 -0.29
  Sales, Orders & Inventories -0.06 0.04 0.05 -0.03 0.04 0.09 -0.16
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