The latest release of the Chicago Federal Reserve National Activity Index (CFNAI) indicated a notable weakening for the national economy. The index fell to a very low growth level of -0.32 from a level of 0.25 in December, while the three-month moving average improved to a level of 0.30.
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 to be in a recession.