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Economy in Brief

Chicago Fed National Activity Index Suggests Moderate Economic Growth
by Tom Moeller  October 22, 2015

The Chicago Federal Reserve reported that its National Activity Index (CFNAI) during September remained fairly constant at -0.37. The last two months were down sharply, however, from July. For Q3 as a whole, the index remained steady with Q2 at -0.09. During the last ten years, there has been a 77% correlation between the Chicago Fed Index and the q/q change in real GDP.

The Production & Income component improved to -0.18 following its sharp August deterioration to -0.21. The Sales, Orders & Inventories series rose to neutral from -0.03. Moving lower, the Personal Consumption & Housing series eased slightly to -0.08 from -0.06. The Employment, Unemployment & Hours was much weaker as it declined to its lowest point since February 2010. The Fed reported that 26 of the 85 component series made positive contributions to the total while 59 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 Sep Aug Jul Sep '14 2014 2013 2012
CFNAI -0.37 -0.39 0.49 0.19 0.21 0.01 -0.05
 3-Month Moving Average -0.09 0.01 0.03 0.12 -- -- --
  Personal Consumption & Housing -0.08 -0.06 -0.06 -0.14 -0.11 -0.14 -0.20
  Employment, Unemployment & Hours -0.11 -0.08 0.13 0.18 0.18 0.10 0.09
  Production & Income -0.18 -0.21 0.40 0.15 0.11 0.03 0.06
  Sales, Orders & Inventories 0.00 -0.03 0.02 0.01 0.04 0.03 -0.00
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