Chicago Fed national activity index hits highest since 2014

May 22, 2017 10:05 AM

The Chicago Federal Reserve said on Monday its gauge of U.S. economic activity strengthened in April to its highest level since late 2014, suggesting an acceleration in production and hiring activity following an anemic first quarter.

The regional central bank's national activity index rose to 0.49 last month, which was the highest since 0.50 in November 2014. It stood at 0.07 in March. 

The index's three-month moving average climbed to 0.16 from 0.06 in March. 

"Two of the four broad categories of indicators that make up the index increased from March, and only one category made a negative contribution to the index in April," the Chicago Fed said in a statement.

The contribution from production-related indicators jumped to 0.46 point from 0.01 point in March, while employment-related data contributed 0.10 point to the index's increase in April, more than March's 0.05 point.

Personal consumption and housing indicators subtracted 0.08 point from the index, more than the 0.06 point drag in March.

Sales, orders and inventories made a "neutral" contribution to the index, compared with a 0.07 point contribution in March.

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