Chicago National Activity Index Points to Expansion

By Features Dow Jones Newswires

Economic growth is expanding in the manufacturing-heavy U.S. Midwest, led by a surge in production, according to a new view of the economic landscape.

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The Chicago Fed's National Activity Index climbed to +0.73 in November from +0.31 in the previous month. A positive number points to economic activity above its historical trend.

The three-month moving average, designed to smooth out volatility, rose to +0.48 last month--its highest level since May 2010--from October's +0.09.

Production-related indicators contributed most of the monthly number, leaping to +0.64 from +0.09 in the prior month. During last month, industrial production jumped 1.3% and manufacturing production rose 1.1%, compared to increases of 0.1% and 0.4% in October, respectively.

The consumption category inched up to -0.10 in November from -0.11 in the prior month and was the only sector registering a negative number.

Employment and sales, two of the four major categories making up the index, declined. Employment indicators inched down to +0.17 last month from +0.22 in October. Sales tumbled to +0.02 from +0.11.