Monday, March 24, 2008

Chicago Fed: "Increasing Likelihood Recession has Begun"

by Calculated Risk on 3/24/2008 04:59:00 PM

The Chicago Fed's national activity index isn't followed very closely. However it is interesting that the Chicago Fed argued that there is "an increasing likelihood that a recession has begun" and that their national activity index has been at recessionary levels for three months (December, January and February).

Chicago Fed Activity Index Click on graph for larger image.

From the Chicago Fed: National Activity Index

The three-month moving average index was below the –0.70 threshold in February. Such an occurrence following a period of economic expansion indicates an increasing likelihood that a recession has begun. In addition, downward revisions to previously published data, particularly employment-related indicators, lowered the index for the previous two months below the –0.70 threshold. Thus, February marked the third consecutive month the three-month moving average remained below this threshold.
emphasis added
December is my guess as the beginning of the current recession (of course I'm assuming that NBER calls a recession).