Led by some further moderation in the growth of production- and employment-related indicators, the Chicago Fed National Activity Index (CFNAI) declined to +0.27 in September from +1.11 in August. Three of the four broad categories of indicators used to construct the index made positive contributions in September, but three of the four categories decreased from August. The index’s three-month moving average, CFNAI-MA3, moved down to +1.33 in September from +3.22 in August.
The CFNAI Diffusion Index, which is also a three-month moving average, decreased to +0.51 in September from +0.71 in August. Fifty of the 85 individual indicators made positive contributions to the CFNAI in September, while 35 made negative contributions. Forty indicators improved from August to September, while 45 indicators deteriorated. Of the indicators that improved, 12 made negative contributions.
Production-related indicators contributed –0.24 to the CFNAI in September, down from +0.31 in August. Industrial production decreased 0.6% in September after increasing 0.4% in August. The contribution of the sales, orders, and inventories category to the CFNAI edged down to +0.07 in September from +0.10 in August.
Employment-related indicators contributed +0.35 to the CFNAI in September, down from +0.71 in August. Nonfarm payrolls increased by 661,000 in September after rising by 1.5 million in August, and the unemployment rate decreased by 0.5 percentage points in September after falling by 1.8 percentage points in the previous month. The contribution of the personal consumption and housing category to the CFNAI moved up to +0.09 in September from a neutral value in August. Housing starts increased to 1,415,000 annualized units in September from 1,388,000 in the previous month.