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Last Updated: 03/21/11

News Release

Chicago Fed to Introduce Midwest Economy Index (MEI)

CHICAGO - Economists at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago recently developed a new monthly index that measures growth in Midwest economic activity.


The Midwest Economy Index (MEI) will launch at 7:30 a.m. CT on Thursday March 31, 2011. It can be found on that date at www.chicagofed.org/mei.  


The MEI charts growth in economic activity in the five Seventh Federal Reserve District states of Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, and Wisconsin based on activity in manufacturing, construction and mining, services, and consumer spending. A zero value for the MEI will indicate that the Midwest economy is expanding at its historical trend rate of growth. A negative value will indicate below-average growth, and positive values will indicate above-average growth. 


The MEI is similar to the CFNAI, which measures growth in national economic activity. While the CFNAI is based on a wide variety of national economic indicators, the MEI is based on a similar variety of Midwestern economic indicators. To compare national and Midwest growth trends, a second index called the relative MEI will accompany each release.  A positive value of the relative MEI indicates Midwest growth greater on average than would be typically suggested by national growth. 


"This will help us understand relationships between national levels of economic growth and levels of growth in the five states that make up the Seventh Federal Reserve District," said Dan Sullivan, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago research director.


More Detailed Information about the MEI:


A recent Chicago Fed Letter

A recent Midwest Economy blog posting


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