Monday, November 23, 2009

Chicago Fed Index: "Economic activity leveled off in October"

by Bill McBride on 11/23/2009 08:30:00 AM

From the Chicago Fed: Index shows economic activity leveled off in October

The Chicago Fed National Activity Index was –1.08 in October, down very slightly from –1.01 in September.
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The index’s three-month moving average, CFNAI-MA3, decreased to –0.91 in October from –0.67 in September, declining for the first time in 2009. October’s CFNAI-MA3 suggests that growth in national economic activity remained below its historical trend.
Chicago Fed National Activity Index Click on table for larger image in new window.

This graph shows the Chicago Fed National Activity Index (three month moving average) since 1967. According to the Chicago Fed (update: earlier I excerpted from the entering recession section):
"When the economy is coming out of a recession, the CFNAI-MA3 moves significantly into positive territory a few months after the official NBER date of the trough. Specifically, after the onset of a recession, when the index first crosses +0.20, the recession has ended according to the NBER business cycle measures. The positive horizontal line in Figure 3 is at +0.2. The critical question is: how early does the CFNAI-MA3 reveal this turning point? For four of the last five recessions, this happened within five months of the business cycle trough."
According to this index, it is still early to call the official recession over. The index is still fairly weak.