Research >> Economics

Chicago Fed National Activity below average in December


The index’s three-month moving average, CFNAI-MA3, decreased to –0.24 in December from –0.19 in November. December’s CFNAI-MA3 suggests that growth in national economic activity was somewhat 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.

The CFNAI Diffusion Index, which is also a three-month moving average, ticked up to –0.12 in December from –0.13 in November. Thirty-five of the 85 individual indicators made positive contributions to the CFNAI in December, while 50 made negative contributions. Fifty-one indicators improved from November to December, while 32 indicators deteriorated and two were unchanged. Of the indicators that improved, 26 made negative contributions.

The contribution from production-related indicators to the CFNAI increased to –0.26 in December from –0.40 in November. Industrial production decreased by 0.4 percent in December after declining by 0.9 percent in November. Moreover, manufacturing production decreased by 0.1 percent in December after decreasing by the same percentage in the previous month. The sales, orders, and inventories category made a contribution of –0.02 to the CFNAI in December, up slightly from –0.03 in November.

The contribution from employment-related indicators to the CFNAI was unchanged at +0.12 in December. Nonfarm payrolls rose by 292,000 in December after increasing by 252,000 in November, and the unemployment rate remained at 5.0 percent in December.

The contribution of the personal consumption and housing category to the CFNAI edged down to –0.07 in December from –0.05in November. Housing starts decreased to 1,149,000 annualized units in December from 1,179,000 in November. In addition, housing permits moved down to 1,232,000 annualized units in December from 1,282,000 in the previous month.

The CFNAI was constructed using data available as of January 20, 2016. At that time, December data for 49 of the 85 indicators had been published. For all missing data, estimates were used in constructing the index. The November monthly index value was revised to –0.36 from an initial estimate of –0.30. Revisions to the monthly index value can be attributed to two main factors: revisions in previously published data and differences between the estimates of previously unavailable data and subsequently published data. The revision to the November monthly index value was due primarily to the former.






Posted: January 22, 2016 Friday 08:30 AM




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