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The index's three-month moving average, CFNAI-MA3, increased from +0.22 in January to +0.30 in February – its highest level since May 2010. February's CFNAI-MA3 suggests that growth in national economic activity was above its historical trend. The economic growth 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 declined to -0.01 in February from +0.30 in January. Total industrial production was unchanged in February after rising 0.4 percent in January; and manufacturing production rose by 0.3 percent in February, following a much larger increase of 1.1 percent in the previous month.
Employment-related indicators contributed +0.18 to the index in February, down from +0.36 in January. Total payroll employment increased by 227,000 in February after rising by 284,000 in the previous month, and the unemployment rate was steady at 8.3 percent. In contrast, average weekly initial claims for unemployment insurance reached a four-year low in February.
The contribution from the consumption and housing category to the index was -0.27 in February, up slightly from -0.29 in January. Housing permits increased to 717,000 annualized units in February from 682,000 in January, while housing starts edged down to 698,000 annualized units from 706,000 over the same period. The contribution from the sales, orders, and inventories category to the index also increased, ticking up to +0.01 in February from -0.03 in January.
Fifty-two of the 85 individual indicators made positive contributions to the index in February, while 33 made negative contributions. Thirty-five indicators improved from January to February, while 49 indicators deteriorated and one was unchanged. Of the indicators that improved, 12 made negative contributions.
The January monthly index was revised to +0.33 from an initial estimate of +0.22.