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The Chicago Fed National Activity Index (CFNAI)

The Chicago Fed National Activity Index

The "CFNAI" is a monthly index designed to gauge overall economic activity and related inflationary pressure. The CFNAI is released at 8:30 a.m. ET on scheduled days, normally toward the end of each calendar month.

Chicago Fed National Activity Index (May 2017)

The CFNAI is a weighted average of 85 existing monthly indicators of national economic activity. It is constructed to have an average value of zero and a standard deviation of one. Since economic activity tends toward trend growth rate over time, a positive index reading corresponds to growth above trend and a negative index reading corresponds to growth below trend.

What exactly is the National Activity Index?

The index is a weighted average of 85 indicators of growth in national economic activity >>>
drawn from four broad categories of data:

1) production and income;
2) employment, unemployment, and hours;
3) personal consumption and housing; and
4) sales, orders, and inventories.

>> Each of these data series measures some aspect of overall macroeconomic activity. The derived index provides a single, summary measure of a factor common to these national economic data. Research has found that the CFNAI provides a useful gauge on current and future economic activity and inflation in the United States.

Note: A zero value for the CFNAI has been associated with the national economy expanding at its historical trend (average) rate of growth; negative values with below-average growth (in standard deviation units); and positive values with above-average growth.


Definition incl. short video