Remaining in slump, economy grows slowly

According to the Chicago Federal Reserve, the US economy is still near contraction, or negative growth. The index, however, improved from -0.52 in April to -0.30 in May.

The national economy picked up slowly in May, with its index improving from -0.52 in April to -0.30. An index of zero shows that the national economy is expanding at its historical trend rate.

The latest release of the Chicago Federal Reserve National Activity Index (CFNAI) indicated that the national economy remained near contraction in May with the index improving to -0.30 from a level of -0.52 in April while the three month moving average declined to a level of -0.43. 

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”. 

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. 

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. 

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