Thursday, April 29, 2010

Chicago Fed: Economic Activity increased in March, Still below Trend

by Bill McBride on 4/29/2010 09:40:00 AM

Note: This is a composite index based on a number of economic releases.

From the Chicago Fed: Index shows economic activity improved in March

Led by improvements in production- and employment-related indicators, the Chicago Fed National Activity Index increased to –0.07 in March, up from –0.44 in February. Three of the four broad categories of indicators that make up the index made positive contributions in March, while the consumption and housing category made the lone negative contribution.

The index’s three-month moving average, CFNAI-MA3, increased to –0.18 in March from –0.31 in February. March’s CFNAI-MA3 suggests that growth in national economic activity, while still below average, continues to improve.
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:
A zero value for the index indicates that the national economy is expanding at its historical trend rate of growth; negative values indicate below-average growth; and positive values indicate above-average growth.
We are now about 9 months into the recovery, and growth by most indicators is still below trend.