The 2020 Mid-Year Economic Update_long

Chicago Fed National Index rises to 0.10 in August

The indexs three-month moving average was up to -0.06 in August.

The Chicago Fed National Activity Index was +0.10 in August, up from –0.41 in July. All four board categories of indicators that make up the index increased from July, but three of the four made negative contributions to the index in August. The index’s three-month moving average, CFNAI-MA3, was up to -0.06 in August from -0.14 in July.

The CFNAI Diffusion Index, which is also a three-month moving average, increased to –0.12 in August from –0.20 in July. Forty-four of the 85 individual indicators made positive contribu­tions to the CFNAI in August, while 41 made negative contributions. Fifty-two indicators improved from July to August, while 30 indicators deteriorated and three were unchanged. Of the indicators that improved, 14 made negative contributions.

Production-related indicators contributed +0.16 to the CFNAI in August, up from -0.26 in July. Total industrial production rose 0.6% in August after falling 0.2% in July. 

Employment-related indicators contributed -0.02 to the CFNAI on August, up slightly from -0.05 in July. The unemployment rate held steady at 3.7% in August, and total nonfarm payrolls increased by 130,000 during the month after rising 159,000 in July. The contribution of the personal consumption and housing category to the CFNAI was up to -0.02 in August from -0.03 in July. Housing starts increased to 1,364,000 annualized units in August from 1,215,000 in July. 

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