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Economy in Brief

Chicago Fed National Activity Index Moderates
by Tom Moeller  November 24, 2014

The Chicago Federal Reserve reported that its National Activity Index (CFNAI) for October fell to 0.14 from 0.29 in September, revised from 0.47. The three-month moving average fell to -0.01 from 0.12. It was the lowest figure since February. During the last ten years, there has been a 75% correlation between the Chicago Fed Index and the q/q change in real GDP.

Performance amongst the component series was mixed last month. The Sales, Orders & Inventories series rose to 0.11, its highest level since July. The decline in the Personal Consumption & Housing series eased to -0.12 from -0.17. Working the other way, the Production & Income reading deteriorated to -0.01 while the Employment, Unemployment & Hours figure worked lower to 0.16. The Chicago Fed reported that during October, 49 of the 85 individual indicators made positive contributions to the overall index while 36 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 Oct Sep Aug Oct'13 2013 2012 2011
CFNAI 0.14 0.29 -0.46 0.08 -0.01 -0.05 -0.07
 3-Month Moving Average -0.01 0.12 0.11 0.19 -- -- --
  Personal Consumption & Housing -0.12 -0.17 -0.08 -0.11 -0.15 -0.20 -0.29
  Employment, Unemployment & Hours 0.16 0.22 0.08 0.01 0.09 0.09 0.13
  Production & Income -0.01 0.18 -0.23 0.08 0.03 0.06 0.04
  Sales, Orders & Inventories 0.11 0.06 -0.23 0.10 0.03 -0.00 0.03
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