Chicago Fed National Activity Index Indicates Economic Growth Is At Its Highest Since March 2011

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The Chicago Fed’s National Activity Index came in at 0.17 for December, handily beating expectations of -0.12.According to the press release, that was led by production- and employment-related indicators.

It’s also the highest value of the index since March 2011.

That follows a reading of -0.37 in November, led by production-related indicators.

A negative number signals below trend economic growth, while a number above 0 signals above trend growth. The index has a standard deviation of 1.

Here’s more on what’s leading December’s increase in economic activity, from the Chicago Fed:

The index’s three-month moving average, CFNAI-MA3, increased from –0.19 in November to –0.08 in December—its highest value since March 2011. December’s CFNAI-MA3 suggests that growth in national economic activity was slightly below its historical trend. The economic slack reflected in this level of the CFNAI-MA3 suggests limited inflationary pressure from economic activity over the coming year.

The contribution from production-related indicators to the index rose sharply to +0.24 in December from –0.28 in November. Industrial production increased 0.4 per cent in December after edging down 0.3 per cent in the previous month. Similarly, manufacturing production rose by 0.9 per cent in December after declining by 0.4 per cent in November, and manufacturing capacity utilization increased to 75.9 per cent in December from 75.3 per cent in the previous month.