Feb. Chicago Fed Nat’l Activity Index suggests growth picked up

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The Chicago Fed National Activity Index for February increased to 0.88 from a downwardly revised 0.02 in January, while the three-month moving average (CFNAI-MA3) climbed to 0.37 from a downwardly revised 0.16, the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago reported Monday.

The gain indicates the economy grew at an above-average rate.

The CFNAI for January was originally reported as 0.12, while the CFNAI-MA3 was 0.17 in the first read.

In February 2017, the index was 0.17, while the CFNAI-MA3 was 0.14 in that month.

The CFNAI diffusion index, also a three-month moving average, grew to 0.28 from a revised 0.16, first reported as 0.12. A year ago, the diffusion index was 0.09.

The production indicators added 0.50 to CFNAI in the month (compared to a subtraction of 0.15 in the previous month), while employment-related indicators contributed 0.31 to the index in the month, after a 0.24 contribution in January, the Fed said.

Personal consumption and housing-related data subtracted 0.02 in the month, after subtracting 0.10 the prior month, while sales, orders and inventories added 0.09 in the month after a 0.03 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 22, with data for 51 of the 85 indicators having been published by then. The Fed said it used estimates for the missing data.

Overall, 63 of the 85 indicators made positive contributions to the index in the month and 22 made negative contributions. While 61 indicators were better than the previous month, 9 of these still made negative contributions to the index. Also, 23 deteriorated from January to February.

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Economic indicators Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago