January 28, 2010 / 1:34 PM / 10 years ago

Chicago Fed national activity index falls in Dec

 CHICAGO, Jan 28 (Reuters) - The Federal Reserve Bank of
Chicago on Thursday said its gauge of the national economy fell
in December, while its less-volatile three-month average rose
in a manner consistent with the start of an economic recovery.
 The Chicago Fed said its National Activity Index slipped to
-0.61 from November's -0.39, which was revised downward from
-0.32.
 Three of four broad categories making up the Fed's index
moved lower, although two -- production and sales -- made
positive contributions in December.
 The index's three-month moving average edged up a second
month, to -0.61 in December from an upwardly revised November
reading of -0.68. November's reading was originally -0.77.
 A reading below zero for the three-month average is
associated with below-trend economic growth. The Chicago Fed
said the latest reading indicates little inflationary pressure
over the coming year.
 Employment-related indicators created the biggest drag on
the monthly reading, contributing -0.27 to the index in
December, down from -0.11 in the prior month. Payrolls
decreased by 85,000 after increasing 4,000 in November, but the
jobless rate stayed at 10 percent.
 Housing indicators, the biggest drag on the index, were hit
by a decline in housing starts to 557,000 in December from
580,000 in November.
 Overall, 36 of the 85 individual indicators tracked by the
Chicago Fed made positive contributions in December while 48
made negative contributions and one was neutral.
 Following are details of the index:
 Monthly index:
 Dec 09   Nov 09  (prev)  Dec 08
  -0.61    -0.39   -0.32   -3.80
 Three-month moving average:
 Dec 09   Nov 09  (prev)  Dec 08
  -0.61   -0.68  -0.77     -2.77
 NOTES:
 Zero values in the index indicate a national economy
expanding at historical trends, while negative values indicate
below-trend growth and positive values signal growth above
trend, the Chicago Fed said.
 The 85 economic indicators that comprise the Chicago Fed's
index are drawn from four categories: production and income;
employment, unemployment and hours; personal consumption and
housing; and sales, orders and inventories.







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