The Chicago Fed national activity index for January turned positive, rising to positive 0.02 from a revised negative 0.58 reading in December, originally reported as negative 0.61.

Meanwhile, the three-month moving average, or CFNAI-MA3, improved to negative 0.16 in January from December’s revised negative 0.47 reading, initially reported as negative 0.61, the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago reported Monday.

In January 2009, the index was negative 4.14, while the CFNAI-MA3 was negative 3.68.

The improved reading for the CFNAI-MA3 indicates national economic growth is beginning to approach its historical trend, consistent with the early stages of a recovery after a recession, and suggests little inflationary pressure from economic activity in the coming year, the Chicago Fed said.

The production indicators contributed positive 0.45 to the index, compared to a contribution of positive 0.15 in the previous month, while employment-related indicators contributed negative 0.01 after providing a negative 0.26 in December, the Fed said.

Consumption and housing-related data contributed negative 0.45 in the month, after contributing negative 0.49 the prior month, while sales, orders, and inventories contributed positive 0.04 after a positive 0.03 contribution in December.

The index is a weighted average of 85 indicators of national economic activity, and is constructed to have an average value of zero and a standard deviation of one.

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.

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