CFNAI Indicates Sluggish Economic Activity Again in March
The Chicago Fed National Activity Index (CFNAI) continued to depict a weak national economy
in March, with the monthly index coming in at –0.67. Still, this reading was an improvement
over February’s downward revised value of –1.24. The March index marked the seventh
below-zero reading in eight months. Weak employment- and production-related data were
the main factors behind March’s negative reading. The three-month moving average index,
CFNAI-MA3, increased slightly in March to –0.43 from February’s revised reading of –0.48.
Since the most recent business cycle peak in March 2001, the only positive value of the
CFNAI-MA3 has been +0.02, which occurred in July 2002.