NEW YORK - The Chicago Fed National Activity Index for December rose to positive 0.17 from a revised negative 0.46 reading in November, while the three-month moving average (CFNAI-MA3) improved to negative 0.08 in December from a revised negative 0.19 in November, the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago reported Thursday.

In December 2010, the index was positive 0.46, while the CFNAI-MA3 was negative 0.03 in that month.

The November index was originally reported as negative 0.37, while the November CFNAI-MA3 was first reported as negative 0.24.

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

The production indicators contributed positive 0.24 in the month (compared to a contribution of negative 0.28 in the previous month), while employment-related indicators contributed positive 0.22 in the month, after providing a positive 0.08 in October, the Fed said.

Consumption and housing-related data contributed negative 0.29 in the month, after contributing negative 0.27 the prior month, while sales, orders and inventories contributed positive 0.01 in the month, after a positive 0.01 contribution in November.

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.

Overall, 53 of the 85 indicators made positive contributions to the index in the month and 32 made negative contributions. While 56 indicators were better than the previous month, 11 of these still made negative contributions to the index. Also, 27 indicators deteriorated from November to December.

The index was constructed using data available by Jan. 19, with data for 50 of the 85 indicators having been published by then. The Fed said it used estimates for the missing data.

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