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The Chicago Fed National Activity Index (CFNAI) rose to +0.88 in February from +0.02 in January.
All four broad categories of indicators that make up the index increased from January, and three of the four categories made positive contributions to the index in February. The index’s three-month moving average, CFNAI-MA3, increased to +0.37 in February from +0.16 in January.
The CFNAI Diffusion Index, which is also a three-month moving average, moved up to +0.28 in February from +0.16 in January. Sixty-three of the 85 individual indicators made positive contributions to the CFNAI in February, while 22 made negative contributions. Sixty-one indicators improved from January to February, while 23 indicators deteriorated and one was unchanged. Of the indicators that improved, nine made negative contributions.
Production-related indicators contributed +0.50 to the CFNAI in February, up from –0.15 in January. Total industrial production increased 1.1 percent in February after decreasing 0.3 percent in January. The sales, orders, and inventories category made a contribution of +0.09 to the CFNAI in February, up from +0.03 in January. The Institute for Supply Management’s Manufacturing Inventories Index increased to 56.7 in February from 52.3 in the previous month.
Employment-related indicators contributed +0.31 to the CFNAI in February, up from +0.24 in January. Nonfarm payrolls increased by 313,000 in February after increasing by 239,000 in January. The contribution of the personal consumption and housing category to the CFNAI moved up to –0.02 in February from –0.10 in January. Consumption indicators improved, on balance, pushing up the category’s overall contribution. However, housing starts decreased to 1,236,000 annualized units in February from 1,329,000 in January.