The Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago’s National Activity Index held at minus 0.19 in June, the first back-to-back negative readings since the pandemic started in early 2020.
The three-month average, which smooths out monthly volatility, slipped to minus 0.04 in June from 0.09 a month earlier. Periods of economic expansion have historically been associated with an average higher than minus 0.7, according to the Chicago Fed.
The regional Fed bank’s Diffusion Index, which is also a three-month moving average and shows the breadth of changes in the measured indicators, decreased to minus 0.04 in June. That marked the first negative reading since May 2020.
The index utilizes 85 individual indicators covering four broad categories of data: production and income; employment, unemployment, and hours; personal consumption and housing; and sales, orders, and inventories. In June, 41 of the 85 made a positive contribution while 44 made negative contributions.
Production-related indicators weighed on the overall index in June. The personal consumption and housing category was also negative. Meanwhile, the sales, orders, and inventories category, as well as the employment-related indicators, made a slight positive contribution.