The Chicago Fed national activity index for February narrowed to negative 2.83 from a revised negative 3.74 reading in January, originally reported as negative 3.45.

Meanwhile, the three-month moving average improved to negative 3.48 in February from January’s revised negative 3.61 reading, initially reported as negative 3.41, the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago reported yesterday.

In February 2008 the index was negative 1.31, while the CFNAI-MA3 was negative 0.89 in that month.

The negative reading for the CFNAI-MA3 indicates national economic growth was well below its historical trend and suggests little inflationary pressure from economic activity in the coming year. The February CFNAI-MA3 reading was the sixth consecutive reading below negative 2.00. The National Bureau of Economic Research recently confirmed CFNAI-MA3’s determination that a recession had begun in December 2007.

Production and income category of indicators contributed negative 0.79 to the index — compared to a contribution of negative 1.40 in the previous month — while employment-related indicators contributed negative 1.29 after providing a negative 1.51 in January, the Fed said.

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