The Chicago Fed National Activity Index for February increased to positive 0.34 from an upwardly revised negative 0.02 in January, first reported as negative 0.05, while the three-month moving average (CFNAI-MA3) soared to positive 0.25 from an upwardly revised positive 0.07 in January, first reported as negative 0.03, the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago reported Monday.
CFNAI-MA3 was at its highest reading since December 2014.
In February 2016, the index was negative 0.17, while the CFNAI-MA3 was negative 0.10 in that month.
The reading for the CFNAI-MA3 indicates national economic growth was somewhat above its historical trend, and suggests limited inflationary pressure from economic activity in the coming year, the Chicago Fed said.
The CFNAI diffusion index, also a three-month moving average, rose to positive 0.17 from a revised positive 0.02 reading the month before, first reported as negative 0.04. A year ago, the diffusion index was negative 0.11.
The production indicators added 0.09 to CFNAI in the month (compared to an addition of 0.04 in the previous month), while employment-related indicators added 0.21 to the index in the month, after a 0.06 contribution in January, the Fed said.
Personal consumption and housing-related data subtracted 0.03 in the month, after subtracting 0.11 the prior month, while sales, orders and inventories contributed 0.08 in the month after a 0.01 subtraction the month before.
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 March 17, with data for 51 of the 85 indicators having been published by then. The Fed said it used estimates for the missing data.
Overall, 55 of the 85 indicators made positive contributions to the index in the month and 30 made negative contributions. While 63 indicators were better than the previous month, 15 of these still made negative contributions to the index. Also, 22 deteriorated from January to February.