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Economy in Brief

Chicago Purchasing Agents' Index Highest Since 1988
by Tom Moeller March 31, 2005

The Chicago Purchasing Managers Business Barometer for March jumped 6.5 points to 69.2 and easily surpassed Consensus expectations for a decline to 60.3. The surge was to the highest level since 1988.

The gain suggests improvement in tomorrow's ISM composite manufacturing index. During the last thirty years the correlation between the two indexes has exceeded 90% and there has been a 67% correlation between the level of the Chicago Business Barometer and the three month change in factory sector industrial output.

The employment index surged another 8.3 points to a near record 66.0. During the last ten years there has been a 78% correlation between the level of the employment index and the three month change in factory sector employment. The new orders and the production indexes also surged.

The index of prices paid fell again to the lowest level in a year. During the last ten years there has been an 86% correlation between the Chicago price index and the three month change in the "core" intermediate goods PPI.

Chicago Purchasing Managers Index, SA Mar Feb  Mar '04 2004 2003 2002
Business Barometer 69.2 62.7 60.4 62.9 54.6 52.8
  New Orders 76.7 68.5 61.6 67.0 58.0 56.2
Prices Paid 68.2 70.1 75.3 80.1 55.8 56.9
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