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

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The Chicago Fed National Activity Index for January fell to negative 0.43 from a downwardly revised positive 0.05 in December, while the three-month moving average (CFNAI-MA3) dropped to neutral from an unrevised 0.16, the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago reported Monday.

The CFNAI for December was originally reported as 0.27.

In January 2018, the index was negative 0.29, while the CFNAI-MA3 was 0.06.

The CFNAI diffusion index, also a three-month moving average, declined to 0.09 from an upwardly revised 0.18, first reported as 0.14. A year ago, the diffusion index was 0.08.

The production indicators subtracted 0.45 from CFNAI in the month (compared to a contribution of 0.08 in the previous month), while employment-related indicators contributed 0.05 to the index in the month, after a 0.02 contribution in December, the Fed said.

Personal consumption and housing-related data subtracted 0.04 in the month, after taking 0.06 off the index in the prior month, while sales, orders and inventories added 0.02 in the month after a neutral 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 Feb. 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, 35 of the 85 indicators made positive contributions to the index in the month and 50 made negative contributions. While 38 indicators were better than the previous month, 11 of these still made negative contributions to the index. Also, 46 deteriorated from December to January and one was unchanged.

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Economic indicators Manufacturing industry Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago