The Chicago Fed National Activity Index for August slumped to negative 0.87 from a revised negative 0.12 reading in July, while the three-month moving average (CFNAI-MA3) fell to negative 0.47 from a revised negative 0.26 in July, the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago reported Monday.

In August 2011, the index was negative 0.40, while the CFNAI-MA3 was negative 0.14 in that month.

The July index was originally reported as negative 0.13, while the July CFNAI-MA3 was first reported as negative 0.21.

The negative reading for the CFNAI-MA3 indicates national economic growth was below its historical trend, and suggests subdued inflationary pressure from economic activity in the coming year, the Chicago Fed said.

The CFNAI diffusion index widened to negative 0.23 from a revised negative 0.08 the month before, first reported as negative 0.05.

The production indicators subtracted 0.58 in the month (compared to a contribution of 0.08 in the previous month), while employment-related indicators subtracted 0.04 in the month, after subtracting 0.02 in July, the Fed said.

Consumption and housing-related data subtracted 0.23 in the month, after subtracting 0.21 the prior month, while sales, orders and subtracted 0.01 in the month, after adding 0.02 in July.

The index is a weighted average of 85 indicators of national economic activity. A zero value for the index indicates that the national economy is expanding at its historical trend rate of growth; negative values are associated with below-trend growth while positive values indicate above-trend growth.

The index was constructed using data available by September 20, with data for 51 of the 85 indicators having been published by then. The Fed said it used estimates for the missing data.

Overall, 26 of the 85 indicators made positive contributions to the index in the month and 59 made negative contributions. While 29 indicators were better than the previous month, 12 of these still made negative contributions to the index. Also, 55 indicators deteriorated from July to August and one was flat.

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