March Chicago Fed Nat’l Activity Index slips as jobs, production slow

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The Chicago Fed National Activity Index for March decreased to 0.10 from an upwardly revised 0.98 in February, while the three-month moving average (CFNAI-MA3) slipped to 0.27 from a downwardly revised 0.31, the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago reported Monday.

The CFNAI for February was originally reported as 0.88, while the CFNAI-MA3 was 0.37 in the first read.

In March 2017, the index was 0.03, while the CFNAI-MA3 was negative 0.07 in that month.

The CFNAI diffusion index, also a three-month moving average, slid to 0.18 from a revised 0.20, first reported as 0.28. A year ago, the diffusion index was negative 0.03.

The production indicators added 0.14 to CFNAI in the month (compared to a contribution of 0.54 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 0.07 in the month, after contributing 0.35 the prior month, while sales, orders and inventories added 0.04 in the month after a 0.14 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 April 19, with data for 51 of the 85 indicators having been published by then. The Fed said it used estimates for the missing data.

Overall, 44 of the 85 indicators made positive contributions to the index in the month and 41 made negative contributions. While 25 indicators were better than the previous month, 9 of these still made negative contributions to the index. Also, 59 deteriorated from February to March. One indicator was unchanged in the month.

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Economic indicators Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago