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Chicago Fed National Activity Index, March 2002
CFNAI Positive for the Second Consecutive Month
In March, the Chicago Fed National Activity Index (CFNAI) was above zero for the second consecutive month. The monthly index came in at +0.06, down slightly from its upward revised
value of +0.08 in February. Before February, the index had been below zero for 19 consecutive
months. The positive February and March index values more than offset the slight negative
reading for January. As a result, the three-month moving average index, CFNAI-MA3, moved
into positive territory, rising to +0.03 in March from February’s upward revised value of –0.19.
This was the fourth consecutive improvement in the CFNAI-MA3 and followed 20 consecutive
months below zero. The steady improvement of the CFNAI-MA3 to a small positive value is a
strong indication from the index that the national economy has returned to trend growth. Index
values above zero, if sustained, signal increased inflationary pressures over the coming year.