The Chicago Business Barometer rebounded in July to a reading of 73.4, the second highest pandemic-era level, according to MNI Indicators. The July PMI is up 7.3 points over the month prior. MNI reports that demand is strong, but firms remain concerned about supply chain disruptions and rising prices.
Production rose ;8.8 points in July as demand remained high and some firms benefited from supply chain issues. New orders also signaled strong demand, increasing 5.4 points.
Order backlogs advanced 3.4 points due to a lack of raw materials and warehouse personnel. Inventories rose 5.1 points in July, although they remain in contraction for the fourth consecutive month.
Demand for labor increased 3.4 points in July, while supplier deliveries remained flat (still at the highest level since 1974). Firms noted that delivery delays and a lack of workforce availability remain problems.
Prices paid at the factory gate eased slightly, but remained at a historic high. Higher prices for materials and freight were a major concern for survey respondents.
MNI asked firms, “What is your planned business activity growth forecast for the second half of 2021?” The majority expected growth to be between 5-10%.
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 us at info@SteelMarketUpdate.com.
By Brett Linton, Brett@SteelMerketUpdate.com
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