U.S. Economic Growth Slowed in August as Production, Sales, and Employment Slumped

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The growth of the U.S. economy slowed in August as contributions from production, employment, and sales all fell, data from the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago showed Thursday.

The Chicago Fed National Activity Index declined to 0.29 in August from 0.75 in July, missing the consensus forecast of 0.65.

The decline suggests a slowdown in economic activity in August, although growth still remains above historically normal levels.

The Chicago Fed National Activity Index (CFNAI) is a monthly index aimed at measuring overall economic activity and related inflationary pressure. It is composed of 85 economic indicators that are broken up into four broad categories. Three of the four categories worsened in August compared to July.

The production indicators contributed 0.11 to the index in August, down from 0.40 in July. That was due to a decline in the growth of industrial production to half the pace of the prior month.

The labor market-related indicators contributed 0.12, down sharply from 0.38 the prior month. That can be chalked up to the much lower than expected pace of hiring in August.

The contribution from sales, orders, and inventories slipped to 0.03 in August from 0.07 in July.

The contributions from personal consumption and housing, however, turned positive and contributed 0.03 points to the index, up from minus 0.09 in July.

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