Summary: REGIONAL ECONOMICS APPLICATIONS LABORATORY
CHICAGO BUSINESS ACTIVITY INDEX
CBAI increased in March
The Chicago Business Activity Index (CBAI) was 107.3 in March, an increase from the value of 100.7
recorded in February. The increase in March could be attributed mainly to the increase of non-manufacturing
employment and construction activities in the Chicago region.
In March, the national and regional economy presented favorable features. The Federal Reserve Board
announced that industrial production increased 0.8 percent in March. The capacity utilization for total
industry rose 0.5 percentage point to 77.4 percent. In addition, national retail sales increased 0.85 percent in
March. The number of unemployed persons (13.5 million) and the unemployment rate (8.8 percent) changed
little in March.
The Chicago Fed reported that the Chicago Fed National Activity Index (CFNAI) increased to 0.26 in March,
from 0.16 in February. Meanwhile, the Chicago Fed Midwest Manufacturing Index (CFMMI) increased 1.92
percent in March, after a 1.34 percent increase in February. In the Chicago region in March, manufacturing
employment increased 0.08 percent while non-manufacturing employment increased 0.18 percent and
construction employment increased by 1.25 percent. Regional retail sales are estimated to have decreased 0.3
percent in March.
In the coming months, the national economy is likely to maintain its recovery trend. The Bureau of Labor
Statistics reported total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 216,000 in March. Job gains occurred in
several service-providing industries and in mining, and manufacturing employment continued to trend up. For