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U.S. Economic Growth Slowed Further in March — Chicago Fed

The U.S. economy expanded in March, but growth softened compared with the previous month, data from the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago showed Monday.

The Chicago Fed National Activity Index decreased to 0.44 in March from a revised 0.54 in February. The reading is above the 0.40 consensus forecast from economists provided by FactSet.

The CFNAI index, designed to gauge overall economic activity and inflationary pressures, is composed of 85 economic indicators from four broad categories of data: production and income; employment, unemployment and hours; personal consumption and housing; and sales, orders and inventories. A positive reading signals that growth over the month was above its historical trend.

In March, production indicators contributed by 0.27 points to the index, down from 0.30 in February, as growth in manufacturing output cooled slightly over the month.

Employment indicators also supported the rise of the index, albeit much less than in the previous month. These indicators contributed by 0.16 points in March, down from 0.31 the previous month, as job creation lost momentum.

The contribution of the sales, orders and inventories category to the index moved up to 0.06 in March from minus 0.03 in February, and the personal consumption and housing category contributed by a negative 0.04 in March, unchanged from February.

The CFNAI diffusion index increased to 0.45 points in March from 0.31 in February, while the index’s three-month moving average, the CFNAI-MA3, rose to 0.57 from 0.43. Both the diffusion index and the CFNAI-MA3 suggest that the U.S. economy is expanding, the Chicago Fed said.
Source: Dow Jones

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