National business activity declined for January, according to a Chicago Federal Reserve National Activity Index released today. Based on a weighted average of 85 different indicators, the Chicago Fed Index provides an overall picture of our nation's economy. An above-zero reading denotes economic expansion, while a negative number implies contraction.

After clocking in at a revised 0.03 value for December, this month's report puts business activity at an even lower -0.39. From a longer-term perspective, the index's three-month moving average dipped 0.16 points, to 0.10, sticking it out in growth territory. 

Chicago Fed National Activity Index Chart

Chicago Fed National Activity Index data by YCharts 

For January, production-related indicators shaved off 0.36 points from the Index, providing the main push for this month's lackluster numbers. Consumption and housing kept up their cuts, clocking in at a combined -0.18 after December's -0.14 reading.

While the Index's sales, orders, and inventories category remained at near-zero levels, employment indicators added on 0.13 after January's unemployment rate improvement .

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