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Economy in Brief

U.S. Chicago Fed National Activity Index Remains Negative
by Tom Moeller  June 24, 2013

The Chicago Federal Reserve indicated that its National Activity Index (CFNAI) remained negative last month. The figure improved, however, to -0.30 from a little-revised -0.52 in April. The three-month moving average deteriorated -0.43, its lowest reading since October. During the last ten years, there has been a 79% correlation between the Chicago Fed Index and the q/q change in real GDP.

The Production & Income component showed the greatest m/m improvement with a recovery to -0.10. The Employment, Unemployment & Hours series improved to 0.01 and also recovered its April decline. The Personal Consumption & Housing reading was stable at -0.17. Sales, Inventories & Inventories deteriorated to -0.04. The Chicago Fed reported that during May, 33 of the 85 individual indicators made positive contributions to the overall index while 52 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. 

Managing Economic Development in Times of Fiscal Uncertainty from the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago can be found here.


Chicago Federal Reserve Bank May Apr Mar May'12 2012 2011 2010
CFNAI -0.30 -0.52 -0.48 -0.12 -0.08 -0.08 0.02
 3-Month Moving Average -0.43 -0.13 -0.14 -0.23 -- -- --
  Personal Consumption & Housing -0.17 -0.17 -0.16 -0.25 -0.22 -0.30 -0.30
  Employment, Unemployment & Hours 0.01 -0.06 0.01 0.09 0.10 0.14 0.03
  Production & Income -0.10 -0.33 -0.10 -0.03 0.04 0.05 0.20
  Sales, Orders & Inventories -0.04 0.03 -0.24 0.01 -0.01 0.04 0.09
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