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I was just catching up on Motley Fool Money, listening to the May 29th podcast on my drive back from a meeting. Seth beefed about consumer confidence and asked for a reality check number, something that rolls up myriad data points in a way so easy to understand that even a pundit on CNBC could get it.

Seth, here’s your number. It’s the Chicago Fed National Activity Index:

One simple number that give the high altitude view of the business cycle. Enjoy.
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