Feb. Chicago Fed Nat’l Activity Index shows below-average growth

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The Chicago Fed National Activity Index for February fell to negative 0.29 from an upwardly revised negative 0.25 in January, while the three-month moving average (CFNAI-MA3) dropped to negative 0.18 from an unrevised neutral reading, the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago reported Monday.

The CFNAI for January was originally reported as negative 0.43.

In February 2018, the index was positive 0.75, while the CFNAI-MA3 was positive 0.21.

The CFNAI diffusion index, also a three-month moving average, declined to negative 0.05 from an upwardly revised positive 0.12, first reported as positive 0.09. A year ago, the diffusion index was positive 0.10.

The production indicators subtracted 0.16 from CFNAI in the month (compared to a subtraction of 0.29 in the previous month), while employment-related indicators subtracted 0.10 to the index in the month, after a 0.07 contribution in January, the Fed said.

Personal consumption and housing-related data subtracted 0.06 in the month, after taking 0.03 off the index in the prior month, while sales, orders and inventories added 0.03 in the month after a 0.01 contribution 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 21, with data for 45 of the 85 indicators having been published by then, fewer than usual as a result of the government shutdown. The Fed said it used estimates for the missing data.

Overall, 38 of the 85 indicators made positive contributions to the index in the month and 47 made negative contributions. While 37 indicators were better than the previous month, 16 of these still made negative contributions to the index. Also, 48 deteriorated from January to February and one was unchanged.

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Economic indicators Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago