Monday, August 22, 2011

The Chicago Fed National Activity Index: July 2011

Today’s release of the Chicago Federal Reserve National Activity Index (CFNAI) indicated notably weak but improving national economic trends for July with the index remaining in contraction territory for the fourth consecutive month at -0.06 while the three month moving average moved up slightly to -0.29.

The CFNAI is a weighted average of 85 indicators of national economic activity collected into four overall categories of “production and income”, “employment, unemployment and income”, “personal consumption and housing” and “sales, orders and inventories”.

The Chicago Fed regards a value of zero for the total index as indicating that the national economy is expanding at its historical trend rate while a negative value indicates below average growth.

A value at or below -0.70 for the three month moving average of the national activity index (CFNAI-MA3) indicates that the national economy has either just entered or continues in recession.