Thursday, October 25, 2012

Chicago Fed: Economic Activity Improved in September

by Bill McBride on 10/25/2012 09:58:00 AM

The Chicago Fed released the national activity index (a composite index of other indicators): Economic Activity improved in September

Led by improvements in production-related indicators, the Chicago Fed National Activity Index (CFNAI) increased to 0.00 in September from –1.17 in August. All four broad categories of indicators that make up the index increased from August, and each one except the consumption and housing category made a positive contribution to the index in September.

The index’s three-month moving average, CFNAI-MA3, increased from –0.53 in August to –0.37 in September—its seventh consecutive reading below zero. September’s CFNAI-MA3 suggests that growth in national economic activity was below its historical trend. The economic growth reflected in this level of the CFNAI-MA3 suggests subdued inflationary pressure from economic activity over the coming year.
This graph shows the Chicago Fed National Activity Index (three month moving average) since 1967.

Chicago Fed National Activity Index Click on graph for larger image.

This suggests economic activity improved, but growth was still below trend in September.

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.

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