Led by declines in production-related indicators, the Chicago Fed National Activity Index moved down to –0.01 in July from +0.16 in June. Three of the four broad categories of indicators that make up the index decreased from June, and three of the four categories made negative contributions to the index in July. The index’s three-month moving average, CFNAI-MA3, moved down to –0.05 in July from +0.09 in June.
The CFNAI Diffusion Index, which is also a three-month moving average, decreased to –0.06 in July from +0.01 in June. Forty-two of the 85 individual indicators made positive contributions to the CFNAI in July, while 43 made negative contributions. Forty indicators improved from June to July, while 45 indicators deteriorated. Of the indicators that improved, 14 made negative contributions.
The contribution from production-related indicators to the CFNAI decreased to –0.02 in July from +0.03 in June. Manufacturing industrial production decreased 0.1 percent in July after increasing 0.2 percent in June; however, total industrial production increased 0.2 percent in July after moving up 0.4 percent in June. The sales, orders, and inventories category made a contribution of –0.01 to the CFNAI in July, down from +0.06 in June.
Employment-related indicators contributed +0.09 to the CFNAI in July, down from +0.13 in June. Nonfarm payroll employment increased by 209,000 in July after rising by 231,000 in June; that said, the civilian unemployment rate ticked down to 4.3 percent in July from 4.4 percent in June.
The contribution of the personal consumption and housing category to the CFNAI edged up to –0.06 in July from –0.07 in June. Consumption indicators improved, on balance, pushing up the category’s overall contribution. However, housing starts decreased to 1,155,000 annualized units in July from 1,213,000 in June, and housing permits decreased to 1,223,000 annualized units in July from 1,275,000 in the previous month.
The CFNAI was constructed using data available as of August 17, 2017. At that time, July data for 51 of the 85 indicators had been published. For all missing data, estimates were used in constructing the index. The June monthly index value was revised to +0.16 from an initial estimate of +0.13, and the May monthly index value was unchanged from last month’s estimate of –0.30. 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 revision to the June monthly index value was primarily due to the latter.