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Economy in Brief

Chicago Fed National Activity Index Improves
by Tom Moeller  November 26, 2018

The Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago reported that its National Activity index increased to 0.24 during October from 0.14 in September. The three-month moving average was fairly steady at 0.31. During the last ten years, there has been a 64% correlation between the Chicago Fed Index and the q/q change in real GDP.

Improvement in the October index was led by the Employment, Unemployment & Hours series to 0.19, its highest level since February. The Production & Income reading eased to 0.06 and has been trending lower since the Spring. The Sales, Orders & Inventories figure held steady at 0.04 and remained down following an August jump. The Personal Consumption & Housing indicator eased to -0.05 and has been down since an upward spike in March.

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 '17 2017 2016 2015
National Activity Index (percent) 0.24 0.14 0.53 0.84 0.13 -0.12 -0.26
 3-Month Moving Average 0.31 0.30 0.38 0.31 -- -- --
  Production & Income 0.06 0.09 0.29 0.68 0.05 -0.07 -0.21
  Employment, Unemployment & Hours 0.19 0.05 0.10 0.12 0.08 0.02 0.07
  Personal Consumption & Housing -0.05 -0.04 -0.04 -0.01 -0.05 -0.07 -0.08
  Sales, Orders & Inventories 0.04 0.04 0.19 0.05 0.05 -0.00 -0.04
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