Monday, September 24, 2012

Chicago Fed: Economic Activity Weakened in August

by Calculated Risk on 9/24/2012 08:39:00 AM

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

Led by declines in production-related indicators, the Chicago Fed National Activity Index (CFNAI) decreased to –0.87 in August from –0.12 in July. All four broad categories of indicators that make up the index deteriorated from July, with each making a negative contribution to the index in August.

The index’s three-month moving average, CFNAI-MA3, decreased from –0.26 in July to –0.47 in August—its lowest level since June 2011 and its sixth consecutive reading below zero. August’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 growth was below trend in August.

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.