Chicago Manufacturing Index at Recession Level

Written by Sandy Williams

The Chicago Business Barometer dropped to its lowest level since the recession in March 2009. The April PMI plummeted 12.4 points to 35.4, said MNI Indicators.

New orders and production recorded the steepest declines, falling 21 points and 19 points, respectively. The order backlogs index eased 7.4 percent after reporting gains in February and March.

“April’s 21-point drop in new orders was the largest decline on record as firms noted a severe negative COVID-19 impact on both demand and production,” said MNI.

The inventory index remained in contraction for the ninth month, but rose by 39.4 percent. Disruption to supply chains was indicated by the supplier deliveries index surging to its highest level since April 1974.

Factory gate prices fell 14.6 percent to its lowest index level since March 2016. Manufacturing employment also plunged in April, falling 11.1 points to its lowest level since June 2009.

Responses to a special survey question revealed that 96 percent of firms in the Chicago region had made major, or at least some, changes to mediate supply issue problems amid the coronavirus crisis.

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