The Chicago Fed national activity index for April declined to negative 0.45 from a revised positive 0.32 reading in March, while the three-month moving average slipped to negative 0.12 in April from March’s revised positive 0.08, the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago reported Monday.

In April 2010, the index was a positive 0.34 while the three-month moving average, or CFNAI-MA3, was positive 0.15.

The 2011 March index was originally reported as a positive 0.26, while the March CFNAI-MA3 was first reported as a positive 0.20.

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

The production indicators contributed  a negative 0.16 in April compared to a positive 0.31 in March, while employment-related indicators contributed positive 0.06 in April after offering a positive 0.24 in March.

Consumption and housing-related data contributed a negative 0.39 in April, the same as the previous month, while sales, orders and inventories contributed a positive 0.04 in April following a positive 0.15 in March.

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 May 19, with data for 52 of the 85 indicators having been published by then. The Fed said it used estimates for the missing data.

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