Index Shows Steady Midwest Economic Growth in March
This morning, the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago released March 2015 figures for its Midwest Economy Index (MEI). The MEI is a weighted average of 129 indicators designed to measure non-farm business activity in the Midwest (IL, IN, MI, WI, IA).
The overall MEI decreased slightly from +0.44 in February to +0.39 in March, while the relative MEI increased from +0.54 in February to +0.84 in February. Positive MEI and relative MEI index values indicate that the Midwest economy grew at a slightly faster rate in March than would typically be suggested by its historic growth rate and the growth rate of the national economy, respectively.
Indiana, Iowa, Michigan and Wisconsin made positive contributions to the MEI; however, Illinois’ negative manufacturing and construction contributions factored into its overall negative contribution of -0.01. This is a decrease from last month’s +0.03. The following chart illustrates contributions to the MEI by sector for Illinois and the Midwest as a whole.
The following chart illustrates five-year trend lines for the MEI and Relative MEI indexes. The MEI captures both national and regional factors driving Midwest growth, and the relative MEI provides a picture of Midwest growth conditions relative to those of the nation.
Source: Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago
Please refer to the Chicago Federal Reserve Bank press release for more information.
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WBC’s “Economic Briefs” track indicators from month to month to gauge the strength of several aspects of Chicago’s economy, including unemployment, population, venture capital, job openings and new hires, home sales, tourism, etc. This data provides a clear analytic framework for specific Plan strategies and initiatives. For a summary of these and other economic indicators, refer to WBC’s monthly Chicago By The Numbers.
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