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National economic activity grew in May, Chicago Fed finds

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(Read caption) This chart shows that the national economic activity strengthened in May with the index rising to a very weak level of 0.21 from a level of -0.15 in April while the three month moving average worsened to a weak level of 0.18.

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The latest release of the Chicago Federal Reserve National Activity Index (CFNAI) indicated that the national economic activity strengthened in May with the index rising to a very weak level of 0.21 from a level of -0.15 in April while the three month moving average worsened to a weak level of 0.18. 

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.