Chicago Business Barometer Stabilizing

Written by Sandy Williams

The Chicago Business Barometer edged up 0.7 points in August, registering 53 from a reading of 52.3 in July, according to MNI Indicators.

A gain in New Orders and Backlogs helped push the indicator upwards. The slight increase, however, indicates stabilization after an erratic second quarter. MNI reports the Barometer is still too close to the 50 neutral point for comfort and is below the ten year average of 55.9.

Production dropped for the third month in a row accompanying a downward trend for Employment and Supplier Deliveries. Supplier Lead Times were relatively unchanged but buyers are delaying purchase of Production Materials and Capital Equipment.

Inventories continued to contract in August but at a slower pace. Prices paid were up for the fourth consecutive month.

MNI Indicators base the Chicago Business Barometer on surveys of purchasing/supply-chain professionals, primarily drawn from membership of the Institute for Supply Management-Chicago (ISM-Chicago). The survey panel contains both manufacturing and non-manufacturing firms. A reading of above 50 indicates expansion in business activity compared to the previous month, 50 is neutral and a reading below 50 indicates a contraction.

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