Economic Improvement Continues in January
The Chicago Fed National Activity Index (CFNAI) increased again in January, with the index rising to –0.51 from a downward revised value of –0.82 in December. The index has improved substantially since November, and the January index represents the highest monthly reading since July 2001. The three-month moving average index, CFNAI-MA3, also continued to improve in January, rising to –0.86 from December’s revised value of –1.03. The January CFNAI-MA3 was also at its highest level since July 2001. January, however, still marked the nineteenth 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.