The latest release of the Chicago Federal Reserve National Activity Index (CFNAI) indicated that the national economic activity improved in August. The index climbed to a level of 0.14 from -0.43 in July, while the three-month moving average improved to a level of -0.18. 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.