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The Chicago Fed National Activity Index is an index of 85 economic indicators that are aggregated into an index meant to project the overall level of US economic growth.  The Chicago Fed updated the National Activity Index this morning, coming in at -0.56, versus 0.00 last month. The Chicago Fed interpretation of the rolling 3 month index readings is below...

  1. A reading of 0.0 signals economy expanding at historical growth rate
  2. A reading of +0.7 signals a period of sustained increasing inflation
  3. Below -0.70 following a period of economic expansion signals the beginning of a recession
  4. Above -0.70 following a period of economic contraction signals the end of a recession

Employment Growth To Slow?  - Chicago Fed Explanation Slide

Our Healthcare team has isolated certain components of the Chicago Fed National Activity Index to build an employment forecasting model, which calls for employment growth to slow to 4Q12 and decelerate further in 1Q13.  If employment growth decelerates over the next 2 quarters as our model projects, we should expect an increased level of caution from management teams as they release and update 2013 outlooks.

Employment Growth To Slow?  - Employment Forecast 1Q13 Chicago Fed 11 26 12