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Economy in Brief

Chicago Fed National Activity Improves
by Tom Moeller  July 21, 2016

The National Activity Index from the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago increased to 0.16 during June from -0.56 in May. Nevertheless, it still suggested below-trend overall economic growth. The three-month moving average reinforced this notion by remaining in negative territory. During the last ten years, there has been a 77% correlation between the Chicago Fed Index and the q/q change in real GDP.

Improvement in the component series was limited. The Production & Income reading rose sharply to 0.18, its highest point since last July. The Employment, Unemployment & Hours figure increased to 0.06, the strongest reading since January. The Sales, Orders & Inventories figure rose slightly while the Personal Consumption & Housing reading was steady. The Fed reported that 40 of the 85 component series made positive contributions to the total while 45 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 '15 2015 2014 2013
National Activity Index (percent) 0.16 -0.56 0.04 -0.09 -0.17 0.16 -0.08
 3-Month Moving Average -0.12 -0.39 -0.26 -0.08 -- -- --
  Personal Consumption & Housing -0.08 -0.08 -0.01 -0.08 -0.09 -0.11 -0.15
  Employment, Unemployment & Hours 0.06 -0.14 -0.03 0.10 0.07 0.18 0.09
  Production & Income 0.18 -0.29 0.09 -0.17 -0.14 0.06 -0.04
  Sales, Orders & Inventories 0.00 -0.04 -0.01 0.06 -0.02 0.04 0.02
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