April 27, 2020

Chicago Fed Report Shows “Substantial” Decline In March Economy Activity


  • The Chicago Federal Reserve Bank’s National Activity Index fell to -4.19 in March, down from +0.06 in February. Not surprisingly, the reading suggests a “substantial” decline in economic growth last month.
  • The Kansas City Federal Reserve announced its manufacturing survey fell to -30 in April, the lowest composite reading in survey history, and down from -17 in March. The decrease in was steepest at durable goods factories such as primary and fabricated metals, and activity at non-durable goods plants including food and beverage manufacturing declined as well.
  • More than 4.4 million individuals filed for federal unemployment benefits in the United States during the week that ended April 18. That figure was down by 810,000 from the previous week’s level. Unfortunately, the number of individuals who continued to receive benefits was at nearly 16 million during the week that ended April 11, up about four million from the previous week.
  • In other economic news: the University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index fell 17.3 points to 71.8 from March 2020 to April 2020 and is down 25.4 points from April of last year. The Index of Consumer Expectations fell 9.6 points to 70.1, while the Current Economic Conditions Index fell 29.4 points to 74.3. New home sales in the United States fell 15.4 percent from February 2020 to March 2020 and 9.5 percent from March 2019 to March 2020. Existing home sales in the United States fell 8.5 percent in March, but were still up 0.8 percent year-over-year. Retail sales in Canada rose 0.3 percent in February with sales of motor vehicles rising 1.1 percent. Canadian wholesale sales rose 0.7 percent.