The national economy is showing below average growth according to the Chicago Fed National Activity Index, which moved up to –0.22 in December from –0.36 in November. A zero value indicates that the national economy is expanding at its historical trend rate of growth; negative values indicate below-average growth; and positive values indicate above-average growth.

The index is a weighted average of 85 indicators of national economic activity drawn from four broad categories of data: production and income; employment, unemployment and hours; personal consumption and housing; and sales, orders and inventories. In the December index, two of the four broad categories of indicators increased from November, but three of the four categories made negative contributions to the index in December.

Thirty-five of the 85 individual indicators made positive contributions to the index in December, while 50 made negative contributions. Fifty-one indicators improved from November to December, while 32 indicators deteriorated and two were unchanged. Of the indicators that improved, 26 made negative contributions

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