Chicago PMI Drops 4.3 Points

Written by Sandy Williams

Business activity fell in the Chicago area in August. The MNI Chicago Business Barometer, or Chicago PMI as commonly called, dropped 4.3 points to register 51.5. The decline was steeper than expected by economists.

“Economic activity slowed down into the summer, suggesting June’s momentum was only a temporary revival in activity. Overall, it wasn’t a rosy month, with Employment the only measure that gained traction. On a trend basis, though, the July-August growth rates paint a slightly better picture – albeit still weak – than that seen earlier in the year,” said Lorena Castellanos, senior economist at MNI Indicators.

Four of the five components of the composite index fell with only employment showing gains in August and achieving a 16th month high. A survey question for panelist revealed slightly less pessimism about hiring in the next three months.

New orders and production remained above the neutral mark of 50 but were at their slowest pace since May. Order backlogs moved back into contraction after dropping 14.5 points to register at 41.7. Inventory growth stalled just below 50.

MNI reported inflationary pressures easing, leaving prices paid at the lowest level since March of this year.

About the Chicago Business Barometer: The Chicago Business Barometer, produced monthly by ISM and MNI Indicators, is a closely watched leading indicator of U.S. economic activity and is based on a survey panel 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, many with global operations. A reading above 50 indicates expansion, and below 50 indicates contraction.

Below is a graph showing the history of the Chicago Business Barometer. You will need to view the graph on our website to use its interactive features, you can do so by clicking here. If you need assistance logging into or navigating the website, please contact our office at 800-432-3475 or

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