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Chicago Fed: Economic Growth Accelerated in December, Manufacturing Surprisingly Strengthened

The Associated Press
AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin
JOHN CARNEY

Economic growth accelerated and was much stronger than expected in January, according to a basket of indicators collected by the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.

The Chicago Fed National Activity Index for December rose to 0.27 from 0.21 in November. Economists had expected the index to decline to 0.15.

The three-month moving average of the index, seen as a more stable guide to the economy because it smooths out month to month volatility, gained to 0.16 from an unrevised 0.12, the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago reported Monday.

The November monthly figure was revised down a notch from the earlier reported 0.22.

The contribution from production-related indicators to the Chicago Index increased to +0.22 in December from +0.02 in November. Manufacturing industrial production rose an impressive 1.1 percent in December after edging up 0.1 percent in November.

The index is a weighted average of 85 indicators of national economic activity. A zero value for the index indicates that the national economy is expanding at its historical trend rate of growth. Positive values indicate above-trend growth. Negative values indicate below-trend growth or contraction.

The index was compiled during the government shutdown and may have been affected by the lack of some data due to the shutdown. Estimates were used for missing data.

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