Chicago Fed National Activity Index Increased in September - Modern Distribution Management

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Chicago Fed National Activity Index Increased in September

The index's three-month moving average, CFNAI-MA3, increased 0.28 during the month.
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 Led by improvements in production-related indicators, the Chicago Fed National Activity Index rose to +0.65 in October from +0.36 in September. One of the four broad categories of indicators that make up the index increased from September, but three of the four categories made positive contributions to the index in October. The index’s three-month moving average, CFNAI-MA3, increased to +0.28 in October from +0.01 in September.

The CFNAI Diffusion Index, which is also a three-month moving average, moved up to +0.19 in October from –0.05 in September. Fifty-six of the 85 individual indicators made positive contributions to the CFNAI in October, while 29 made negative contributions. Forty-three indicators improved from September to October, while 42 indicators deteriorated. Of the indi­cators that improved, seven made negative contributions.

The contribution from production-related indicators to the CFNAI rose to +0.53 in October from +0.18 in September. Total industrial production increased 0.9 percent in October after moving up 0.4 per­cent in September. In addition, manufacturing industrial produc­tion increased 1.3 percent in October after moving up 0.4 percent in September. The sales, orders, and inventories category also made a positive contribution to the CFNAI in October, though the contribution edged down to +0.05 from +0.08 in September.

Employment-related indicators contributed +0.11 to the CFNAI in October, down slightly from +0.13 in September. Civilian employment decreased by 484,000 in October after increasing by 906,000 in September. However, the civilian unemployment rate moved down to 4.1 percent in October from 4.2 percent in the previous month, and nonfarm payrolls increased by 261,000 in October after in­creasing by 18,000 in September.

The contribution of the personal consumption and housing cate­gory to the CFNAI edged down to –0.04 in October from –0.02 in September. Consumption indicators deteriorated, on balance, pushing down the category’s overall contribution. However, housing starts increased to 1,290,000 annualized units in October from 1,135,000 in September, and housing permits increased to 1,297,000 annu­alized units in October from 1,225,000 in the previous month.

The CFNAI was constructed using data available as of November 20, 2017. At that time, October data for 51 of the 85 indicators had been published. For all missing data, estimates were used in construct­ing the index. The September monthly index value was revised to +0.36 from an initial estimate of +0.17, and the August monthly index value was revised to –0.16 from last month’s estimate of –0.37. Revisions to the monthly index can be attributed to two main factors: revisions in previously published data and differences between the estimates of previously unavailable data and subsequently published data. The revisions to both the September and August monthly index values were primarily due to the former.

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