Monday, June 24, 2013

Chicago Fed: "Economic Activity slightly improved in May"

by Bill McBride on 6/24/2013 08:38:00 AM

The Chicago Fed released the national activity index (a composite index of other indicators): Index shows economic activity slightly improved in May

Led by improvements in production-related indicators, the Chicago Fed National Activity Index (CFNAI) increased to –0.30 in May from –0.52 in April.

The index’s three-month moving average, CFNAI-MA3, decreased to –0.43 in May from –0.13 in April, marking its third consecutive reading below zero and its lowest level since October 2012. May’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.
emphasis added
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 was below the historical trend in May (using the three-month average).

According to the Chicago Fed:
What is the National Activity Index? The index is a weighted average of 85 indicators of national economic activity drawn from four broad categories of data: 1) production and income; 2) employment, unemployment, and hours; 3) personal consumption and housing; and 4) sales, orders, and inventories.

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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