Monday, March 21, 2016

Chicago Fed: "Index shows economic growth slowed in February"

by Bill McBride on 3/21/2016 08:36:00 AM

The Chicago Fed released the national activity index (a composite index of other indicators): Index shows economic growth slowed in February

Led by declines in production-related indicators, the Chicago Fed National Activity Index (CFNAI) fell to –0.29 in February from +0.41 in January. All four broad categories of indicators that make up the index decreased from January, and three of the four categories made negative contributions to the index in February.

The index’s three-month moving average, CFNAI-MA3, edged up to –0.07 in February from –0.12 in January. February’s CFNAI-MA3 suggests that growth in national economic activity was slightly 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 slightly below the historical trend in February (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.