Chicago Fed Activity Index Improves in July

U.S. economic conditions improved slightly in July, amid a pickup in industrial and manufacturing production, according to report Monday from the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.

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The Chi Fed's National Activity Index narrowed to negative 0.06 in July, following a revised negative 0.38 in June. But the three-month moving average, which provides a more consistent picture of national economic growth compared to the more volatile monthly index, increased to negative 0.29 from negative 0.54.

Zero values in the index indicate a national economy expanding at historical trends, while negative values indicate below-trend growth and positive values signal growth above trend, according to the Chicago Fed.

The three-month moving average continues to indicate economic activity remains below its historical trend, suggesting subdued inflationary pressure for the coming year, the Chicago Fed said.

Industrial production rose in July, the survey indicated, while manufacturing production improved in an increase in auto production.

The 85 economic indicators that comprise the Chicago Fed's index are drawn from four categories: production and income; employment, unemployment and hours; personal consumption and housing; and sales, orders and inventories.