Tuesday, March 22, 2016

The Chicago Fed National Activity Index: February 2016

The latest release of the Chicago Federal Reserve National Activity Index (CFNAI) indicated that the national economic worsened in February with the index falling to a contraction level of -0.29 from a level of 0.41 a month earlier while the three month moving average improved to a level of -0.07.

February's weakness came as a direct result of declines to every component measure of the CFNAI reversing last months improvements and apparently reflecting continued general economic weakness.

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.