Chicago Business Barometer Shows Demand at Risk from Supply Issues

Written by Sandy Williams

The Chicago Business Barometer reached its highest level since November 1973, coming in at 75.2 for May.

New orders jumped 7.7 points, indicating strong demand in the region. Survey respondents noted that high consumer demand may be due in part to worries about raw material shortages.

Production slowed by 2.3 points and order backlogs were at a 70-year high after surging 7.5 points. Personnel shortages and logistics issues drove backlogs in May. Supplier delivery times remained a serious problem, said MNI Indicators. “Companies continuously noted delivery delays due to transportation issues and material shortages.”

Inventories were at a nine-month low, marking the second consecutive month in contraction.

Employment also slid back into contraction following two months above the 50-mark. The index declined 6.4 points as firms reported difficulty in finding workers.

The index for factory gate prices dropped 3.1 points in May, from the 41-year high in April. Raw material prices continued to rise for steel, plastics, copper and electronic components.

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