The Midwest Economy Index slipped to 0.03 in March from a downwardly revised 0.25 in March, first reported as 0.27, the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago reported Thursday.

The relative MEI dropped to negative 0.21 in April from an upwardly revised positive 0.10 reading in March, first reported as positive 0.01. The negative relative MEI indicates that growth in the region was somewhat lower than expected.

Manufacturing contributed 0.19 to the index in April, after a 0.22 addition in March, while adding 0.13 to the relative MEI, after a 0.14 contribution in March.

Construction and mining took 0.08 from MEI in the month, after subtracting 0.07 in March, while subtracting 0.02 from relative MEI in April after adding 0.02 in March.

The service sector subtracted 0.07 from MEI in April after adding 0.12 in March, while taking 0.28 from relative MEI in April after contributing 0.03 in March.

Consumer spending subtracted 0.01 from MEI in April, after subtracting 0.02 in March, while subtracting 0.04 from relative MEI, after subtracting 0.08 in March.

By state, Iowa made the largest contributions in April, 0.09, with Michigan adding 0.08, Wisconsin subtracted 0.03, Indiana subtracted 0.04, and Illinois took away 0.10.

The index is a weighted average of 128 state and regional indicators encompassing the five states in the Seventh Federal Reserve District (Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, and Wisconsin). The index measures growth in nonfarm business activity.

A zero value for the MEI indicates that the Midwest 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. A zero value for the relative MEI indicates that the Midwest economy is growing at a rate historically consistent with the growth of the national economy; positive values indicate above-average relative growth; and negative values indicate below-average relative growth.

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