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Chicago Fed: US economy at near-recession level

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(Read caption) This graph shows the Chicago Federal Reserve National Activity Index since 2000. The index indicated pronounced weakness for the US economy in October 2012.

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The latest release of the Chicago Federal Reserve National Activity Index (CFNAI) indicated pronounced weakness for the national economy with the index falling notably from the prior month to stand at a near-recessionary level of -0.56 while the three month moving average also slumped to -0.56. 

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.