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Economy in Brief

Chicago Fed National Activity Index Turns Positive
by Tom Moeller  July 23, 2015

The Chicago Federal Reserve reported that its National Activity Index (CFNAI) during June registered its first positive reading since December. The latest figure increased to 0.08 from -0.08 in May, revised from -0.17. The three-month moving average of -0.01 was improved versus its -0.20 low in March. During the last ten years, there has been a 73% correlation between the Chicago Fed Index and the q/q change in real GDP.

Three of the four component series improved last month. The Production & Income reading of -0.01 versus -0.08 in May left the figure at the highest level in three months. The Employment, Unemployment & Hours figure gained to 0.12 from 0.06 leaving it at the highest point since February. The Sales, Orders & Inventories number rose to 0.03 from -0.01. The Personal Consumption & Housing series eased to -0.07, retracing most of its May rise. The Fed reported that 48 of the 85 component series made positive contributions to the total while 37 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 Jun May Apr Jun '14 2014 2013 2012
CFNAI 0.08 -0.08 -0.04 0.29 0.21 0.01 -0.05
 3-Month Moving Average -0.01 -0.07 -0.13 0.19 -- -- --
  Personal Consumption & Housing -0.07 -0.05 -0.08 -0.13 -0.11 -0.14 -0.20
  Employment, Unemployment & Hours 0.12 0.06 0.09 0.26 0.18 0.10 0.09
  Production & Income -0.01 -0.08 -0.20 0.06 0.11 0.03 0.06
  Sales, Orders & Inventories 0.03 -0.01 0.14 0.11 0.04 0.03 -0.00
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