Jan. Chicago Fed Nat’l Activity Index suggests steady growth

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The Chicago Fed National Activity Index for January decreased to 0.12 from a downwardly revised 0.14 in December, while the three-month moving average (CFNAI-MA3) dipped to 0.17 from an upwardly revised 0.43, the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago reported Monday.

The CFNAI for December was originally reported as 0.27, while the CFNAI-MA3 was 0.42 in the first read.

In January 2017, the index was negative 0.19, while the CFNAI-MA3 was 0.04 in that month.

The CFNAI diffusion index, also a three-month moving average, fell to 0.12 from a revised 0.26, first reported as 0.23. A year ago, the diffusion index was zero.

The production indicators subtracted 0.201 from CFNAI in the month (compared to a contribution of 0.11 in the previous month), while employment-related indicators contributed 0.09 to the index in the month, after a 0.02 subtraction in December, the Fed said.

Personal consumption and housing-related data subtracted 0.03 in the month, after subtracting 0.05 the prior month, while sales, orders and inventories added 0.07 in the month after a 0.09 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. 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, 40 of the 85 indicators made positive contributions to the index in the month and 45 made negative contributions. While 37 indicators were better than the previous month, 15 of these still made negative contributions to the index. Also, 47 deteriorated from December to January.

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Economic indicators Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago