Chicago Fed National Activity Index Down in November - Modern Distribution Management

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Chicago Fed National Activity Index Down in November

The three-month moving average, CFNAI-MA3, remained level from October to November.

The Chicago Fed National Activity Index decreased to -0.37 in November from -0.11 in October, led by declines in production-related indicators. Two of the four broad categories of indicators that make up the index decreased from October, and only the employment, unemployment and hours category was positive in November.

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The index’s three-month moving average, CFNAI-MA3, remained level, at -0.24, from October to November. November’s CFNAI-MA3 suggests that growth in national economic activity was below its historical trend. Likewise, the economic slack reflected in this level of the CFNAI-MA3 suggests subdued inflationary pressure from economic activity over the coming year.

Production-related indicators made a contribution of -0.23 to the index in November – a sharp decrease from +0.16 in October and its lowest value since April 2011. Industrial production edged down 0.2 percent in November after increasing 0.7 percent in the previous month.

Manufacturing production decreased 0.4 percent in November after increasing 0.5 percent in October. The sales, orders, and inventories category made a neutral contribution to the index in November, down slightly from +0.01 in October.

The contribution from the consumption and housing category to the index ticked up to -0.29 in November from -0.30 in October. Housing starts rose to 685,000 annualized units in November from 627,000 in October. Similarly, housing permits increased to 681,000 annualized units from 644,000 over the same period.

The employment-related indicators’ contribution to the index was +0.14 in November, up from +0.01 in October. Payroll employment increased 120,000 in November after rising 100,000 in the previous month. Likewise, the unemployment rate dropped to 8.6 percent in November from 9.0 percent in October.

Thirty-four of the 85 individual indicators made positive contributions to the index in November, while 51 made negative contributions. Thirty-one indicators improved from October to November, while 54 indicators deteriorated. Of the indicators that improved, 16 made negative contributions. The index was constructed using data available as of December 20, 2011. At that time, November data for 49 of the 85 indicators had been published. For all missing data, estimates were used in constructing the index.

The October monthly index was revised to -0.11 from an initial estimate of -0.13. 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 October monthly index was due primarily to the former.

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