Economy Improves at Year's End
The Chicago Fed National Activity Index (CFNAI) improved in December, with the monthly index rising to –0.77 from a downward revised value of –1.29 in November. The December index represents the highest monthly reading since July 2001. The three-month moving average index, CFNAI-MA3, also improved in December, to –1.05 from November’s revised value of –1.44. Still, with the CFNAI-MA3 below –1.00, the index continues to be in a negative range that historically has been associated only with economic recessions. December marked the eighteenth consecutive month that the CFNAI-MA3 was below zero, an indication of how long the national economy has been growing below trend. Index values below zero signal reduced inflationary pressures over the coming year.