Chicago Business Barometer fell to four-year low in May

Written by Brett Linton

The Chicago Business Barometer tumbled lower in May, now at the lowest measure recorded since May 2020, according to Market News International (MNI) and the Institute for Supply Management (ISM).

The Barometer reading eased 2.5 points to 35.4 in May from April, marking the sixth consecutive month of contracting business conditions. The latest reading is tied with April 2020 for the second-lowest reading seen in our 13-year data history.

The MNI report credits this reduction to substantial declines in new orders, order backlogs, and employment. These three subcomponents are now at the lowest levels recorded since the pandemic. An increase in production and supplier deliveries from April to May slightly offset the decline.

Respondents were asked one special question this month, inquiring if recent supply-chain events have had an impact on their business and citing the recent Francis Scott Key Bridge collapse in Baltimore as an example. The majority responded they have felt no impact, 19% reported they expect to experience a moderate disruption, while 11% said the impact was unknown. Only 4% responded that they are currently experiencing disruptions.  

An interactive history of the Chicago Business Barometer Index is available here on our website.

Brett Linton

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