Media Contact: Karley Sweet | 312.553.4658 | ksweet@WorldBusinessChicago.com

Index Shows Economic Activity Slowed in December

January 22, 2013

This morning, the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago released December 2012 figures for the Chicago Fed National Activity Index (CFNAI), a measure of how the national economy is faring relative to its historical trend rate. Two of the index’s four economic indicator categories decreased, causing the overall CFNAI to fall from +0.27 in November to +0.02 in December.

Illustrated in the following chart, the three-month moving average increased slightly from -0.13 in November to -0.11 in December. (When the CFNAI-MA3 moves above -0.70 following a period of economic contraction, there is an increasing likelihood that a recession has ended; surpassing a level of +0.20 indicates economic activity associated with sustained recovery).

 

Note: Based on data available as of 1/17/2013. At that time, October data for 49 of the 85 indicators had been published; for all missing data, estimates were used in constructing the index and CFNAI-MA3.
Source: Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago

Of the 85 indicators that contribute to the index (production/income, sales/orders/inventories, employment/unemployment/hours, and personal consumption/housing):

  • 36 improved from November to December, while 48 deteriorated and one was unchanged; 41 made positive contributions, while 44 made negative contributions.
  • Production-related indicators made a positive contribution of +0.12 to the index, down from +0.49 in November.
  • Employment-related indicators made a positive contribution of +0.09 to the index, up from -0.02 in November.
  • Personal consumption/housing made a negative contribution of -0.17 to the index; down from -0.14 in November.
  • Sales/orders/inventories indicators made a negative contribution of -0.01 to the index, up from -0.06 in November.

The full news release can be found on the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago website.

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