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Economy in Brief

Chicago Fed National Activity Index Declines in November
by Tom Moeller  December 22, 2021

• Index reverses half of prior month's gain.

• Production & personal consumption lead downturn.

• Trend continues to improve.

The Chicago Fed National Activity Index (CFNAI) fell to 0.37 during November from 0.75 in October, revised from 0.76. The index is constructed by the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.

The index's three-month moving average of 0.37 was the highest since July. During the last 10 years, there has been a 75% correlation between the change in the Chicago Fed Index and quarterly growth in real GDP.

The Production & Income component led last month's decline with a weakening to 0.21 from 0.42 in October. The Personal Consumption & Housing reading weakened to -0.05 last month from 0.04 in October. The Employment, Unemployment & Hours component moved down to 0.18 from 0.23. The Sales, Orders & Inventories index slipped to 0.03 from 0.06.

The CFNAI diffusion index, which measures the breadth of movement in the component series, improved to 0.35 in November from 0.18 in October. Fifty-three of the 85 component series contributed positively to the overall index and 32 made negative contributions.

The CFNAI is a weighted average of 85 monthly 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 CFNAI was constructed using data available as of October 25, 2021. Fifty of the 85 indicators had been published at that time. For all missing data, estimates were used in constructing the index.

These figures are available in Haver's SURVEYS database.

Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago Nov Oct Sep Nov'20 2020 2019 2018
Chicago Fed National Activity Index (+ = Growth Above Trend) 0.37 0.75 -0.01 0.26 -0.48 -0.20 0.05
   Production & Income 0.21 0.42 -0.25 0.15 -0.13 -0.13 0.02
   Employment, Unemployment & Hours 0.18 0.23 0.18 0.14 -0.31 0.00 0.08
   Personal Consumption & Housing -0.05 0.04 0.02 -0.08 -0.04 -0.02 -0.04
   Sales, Orders & Inventories 0.03 0.06 0.04 0.04 0.00 -0.05 -0.01
CFNAI 3-Month Moving Average 0.37 0.25 0.26 0.57 -- -- --
CFNAI Diffusion Index 0.35 0.18 0.15 0.50 0.19 -0.18 0.03
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