Chicago Fed: National Business Growth Slows

A production slowdown puts the U.S. economy on a flatter growth trajectory.

Justin Loiseau
Justin Loiseau
(TMFJLo)
Jul 21, 2014 at 11:57AM
Markets

National business growth slowed for June, according to a Chicago Federal Reserve National Activity Index released (link opens as PDF) 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 activity exceeding historical levels, while a negative number implies a historically underperforming economy.

Today's report has two bits of unwelcome news: May's index was revised down 0.05 points from 0.21 to 0.16, and June's reading pulls business activity down to 0.12. Still, both months remain above the historical average, which makes these latest reports better than below-average April.

From a longer-term perspective, the index's three-month moving average also took a dip, declining 0.15 points to 0.28. 

Chicago Fed National Activity Index Chart

According to the report, production-related indicators were the main reason for this latest month's decline. While payroll improvements and a declining unemployment rate kept labor market contributions growing, production-related indicators flatlined for June after contributing 0.14 points in May. A slow 0.2% rise in industrial production kept analysts nonplussed by production's latest moves.

Consumption and housing (treated as one component) weakened the overall business activity index with a -0.14 contribution, but that's still slightly better than its -0.16 point pull in May.