The US economy continued to grow at a strong “above-trend” pace through January, according to this morning’s update of the Chicago Fed National Activity Index. The three-month moving average of this business cycle benchmark (CFNAI-MA3) decelerated slightly to +0.33 last month vs. +0.34 in December, but the latest reading marks the third straight month of accelerated growth. In fact, the data for the November-through-January period mark the strongest three-month expansion for the US since 2006, based on CFNAI-MA3 data.
Any reading above zero reflects “above-trend” growth vs. the historical record, according to guidelines from the Chicago Fed. Only negative values below -0.70 indicate elevated risk that a recession has started. By that standard, the US economy continues to show a strong bias for expansion with recession risk nowhere in sight.
The upbeat news from the Chicago Fed is supported by The Capital Spectator’s latest Economic Trend analysis. As I noted in last week’s update, “the broad trend for the US economy continued to show resilience in the first month of 2015.” Today’s CFNAI-MA3 release strengthens the view that the US economy started 2015 with a robust growth rate.