U.S. economic activity expanded at a slower rate in February and January’s expansion was slower than reported earlier, data from the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago showed Monday.

The Chicago Fed National Activity Index fell to 0.51 in February and January’s reading was revised down to 0.59 from the prior reading of 0.69.

The Chicago Fed’s reading of the economy is comprised of 85 economic indicators from four broad categories of data:

  • production and income;
  • employment, unemployment and hours;
  • personal consumption and housing;
  • and sales, orders and inventories.

Consistent with the very tight labor market, the employment indicators contributed the most to the index. The Department of Labor said that payrolls grew by 678,000 in February and the unemployment rate fell to 3.8 percent.

Production-related indicators contributed +0.22 to the index in February, down slightly from +0.25 in January. Industrial production increased 0.5 percent in February after rising 1.4 percent in January. The contribution of the sales, orders, and inventories category to the index was unchanged at +0.04 in February.

The personal consumption and housing category turned negative in February, subtracting 0.04 points from the index.

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