The Chicago Fed’s National Activity Index is a monthly report that is not commonly known. For August it came in at .79 from a revised July report of 2.54. The index’s three-month average fell to 3.05 from 4.23 in July. This index tries to track the national economy. A reading of zero says that it is growing at the historical rate. In this case, these numbers are above zero, telling us we are growing faster than the trend. Then again, we are recovering from a shut down so they are a bit hard to accept at this point.
Looking a little under the hood, this index tracks 85 economic indicators and 45 of them made positive contributions in August. The other 40 deteriorated from July. We can see that there are signs that the economy is slowing down near the end of the third quarter. That will likely continue into the fourth quarter. Likely there will be no new stimulus package before the end of the year to try and boost the economy. There was movement on a new agreement, but with Justice Ginsburg passing, and a new fight brewing over a replacement, the odds of Congress actually doing something about the stimulus is remote.