CFNAI Indicates Economy Improved in September
The Chicago Fed National Activity Index (CFNAI) was +0.20 in September, a sharp rebound from the downward revised August reading of –0.40. The positive value for the index in September reflected renewed strength in the output-related data, a marked improvement in the employment-related data, and continued robust housing-related data compared to August; the contributions of other components of the CFNAI netted to a small positive value. The three-month moving average index, CFNAI-MA3, improved as well, from a revised –0.08 in August to +0.05 in September. This was the first positive reading for the CFNAI-MA3 since June 2000. CFNAI-MA3 values above zero are associated with above-trend economic growth; accordingly, the CFNAI-MA3 value of +0.05 suggests that growth in national economic activity in September was slightly above its historical trend. With regard to inflation, CFNAI-MA3 values above zero signal increased inflationary pressures over the coming year. The small positive value of the CFNAI-MA3 indicates these inflationary pressures are slight.