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Latest Chicago Fed data shows economic improvement in September

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(Read caption) This graph tracks the Chicago Fed National Activity Index since 2001.

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The latest release of the Chicago Federal Reserve National Activity Index (CFNAI) showed an improvement of the national economy with the index climbing from the prior month to stand at a very weak 0.00 while the three month moving average remained very near contraction territory at -0.37. 

The CFNAI is a weighted average of 85 indicators of national economic activity collected into four overall categories of “production and income”, “employment, unemployment and income”, “personal consumption and housing” and “sales, orders and inventories”. 

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The Chicago Fed regards a value of zero for the total index as indicating that the national economy is expanding at its historical trend rate while a negative value indicates below average growth. 

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A value at or below -0.70 for the three month moving average of the national activity index (CFNAI-MA3) indicates that the national economy has either just entered or continues in recession.