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The latest release of the Chicago Federal Reserve National Activity Index (CFNAI) indicated improvement for the national economy. The index rose to a level of 0.44 from a level of -0.49 in January, while the three-month moving average declined to a level of 0.09. 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.

Source: The Chicago Fed National Activity Index: February 2013