The Chicago Fed National Activity Index rose to +0.16 in February from –0.33 in January. Two of the 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, decreased to –0.21 in February from –0.11 in January.
The CFNAI Diffusion Index, which is also a three-month moving average, moved down to –0.20 in February from –0.11 in January. Forty-four of the 85 individual indicators made positive contributions to the CFNAI in February, while 41 made negative contributions. Forty-four indicators improved from January to February, while 40 indicators deteriorated and one was unchanged.
Of the indicators that improved, 12 made negative contributions.Production-related indicators contributed +0.11 to the CFNAI in February, up from –0.34 in January. Industrial production increased 0.6 percent in February after decreasing 0.5 percent in January. The contribution of the sales, orders, and inventories category to the CFNAI ticked down to –0.03 in February from –0.02 in January. The Institute for Supply Management’s Manufacturing New Orders Index moved down to 49.8 in February from 52.0 in the previous month.
Employment-related indicators contributed +0.05 to the CFNAI in February, up from +0.01 in January. The unemployment rate ticked down to 3.5 percent in February from 3.6 percent in the previous month. The contribution of the personal consumption and housing category to the CFNAI ticked down to +0.02 in February from +0.03 in January. Housing starts decreased to 1,599,000 annualized units in February.