Economic Growth Slows in February
In February, the Chicago Fed National Activity Index (CFNAI) fell below zero again after briefly turning positive in January. The monthly index came in at –0.62 in February, following January’s upward revised reading of +0.53. The February index marked the sixth below-zero reading in seven months. The main factor driving the decline was weakness in the employment- related data category, which made its largest negative contribution to the index since the fall of 2001. The three-month moving average index, CFNAI-MA3, fell to –0.28 from –0.19 in January, with the positive monthly reading for January tempering February’s negative one. Since the most recent business cycle peak in March 2001, the only positive value of the CFNAI-MA3 has been +0.02, which occurred in July 2002.