The national activity index improved noticeably in September, to 0.17 from a revised minus 0.37 in August. The biggest difference comes from production indicators which reserved a minus 0.33 showing in August, one due in part to one-time effects from Hurricane Harvey, to a gain of 0.10. Employment contributed 0.06, up from August's 0.01, as a sharp drop in the unemployment rate to 4.2 percent offset a 33,000 decline in nonfarm payrolls. Sales, orders & inventories were once again a moderate plus and personal consumption & housing a moderate minus. Despite September's overall improvement, the 3-month average, pulled down by the sharp weakness in August, held at minus 0.16 which is the weakest reading for what has been a weak year for this indicator.