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The Chicago Fed National Activity Index (CFNAI) for October was downgraded from +0.23 to neutral as a result of revisions to previously published data, but November’s CFNAI reading came in at +0.22, indicating above trend growth, with the three month CFNAI average dropping to +0.12 from +0.23 the previous month. Industrial production rose +0.6% in November vs a -0.2% decline in October, while employment related indicators dropped to +0.10% compared to +0.15% in October. Of the 85 indicators surveyed for the index, 45 improved, 37 deteriorated and 3 were unchanged, with 11 of the 45 improved indicators having negative values.
The Richmond Federal Reserve’s Survey of Manufacturing Activity in the Fifth District, covering the East Coast from Maryland to South Carolina, dropped a record -22 points in December to -8. The shipments index dropped to -25 for its lowest reading since April 2009, and the local business conditions index dropped to a record low -25, although most businesses surveyed were optimistic that conditions would improve. Employment increased and was expected to continue to increase despite firms having difficulty finding skilled workers.
The Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index dropped -8.3 points in December to 128.1, its second consecutive monthly drop and the lowest level since July. While the present situation index dropped -1.1 points to 171.6, the future expectations index, measuring how respondents view the economy six months into the future, sank -13.2 points to 99.1, its lowest reading since October 2016. A spokesman for The Conference Board noted that while consumers ended 2018 on a strong note, back-to-back declines in expectations reflected increasing concerns that the pace of economic growth would moderate in the first half of 2019.
Thursday January 3 – Construction Spending
Friday January 4 – Employment Situation