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Economy in Brief

Chicago Purchasing Managers Index Stabilizes
by Tom Moeller  March 31, 2015

Chicago purchasing managers reported that their March Business Barometer Index moved up to 46.3 this month following a sharp decline to an unrevised 45.8 in February. The reading roughly equaled expectations for 51.4 in the Action Economics Forecast Survey. Haver Analytics constructs an ISM-Adjusted Index, comparable to the overall ISM index to be released tomorrow. Our figure improved modestly to 50.9 following its sharp February decline. During the last ten years, there has been a 61% correlation between the adjusted Chicago Purchasing Managers index and real GDP growth.

Most of the component series showed modest improvement last month. The inventories index improved the most to the highest level since November. The production series also gained somewhat after its February plunge. Movement in other components was negligible following sharp deterioration last month. Employment ticked up to 50.3 but remained near the lowest level since April 2013. During the last ten years, there has been an 82% correlation between the employment figure and the m/m change factory sector employment.

The index of prices paid retraced most of its February decline but remained at the lowest point since the end of the recession in 2009. Twenty two percent (NSA) of respondents reported paying higher prices and 20 percent reporting paying less.

The MNI Chicago Report is produced by MNI/Deutsche Borse Group in partnership with ISM-Chicago. The survey covers a sample of over 200 purchasing professionals in the Chicago area with a monthly response rate of about 50%. The ISM-Adjusted headline index is calculated by Haver Analytics using these data to construct a figure using the ISM methodology. The figures can be found in Haver's SURVEYS database. The Consensus expectations figure is available in AS1REPNA.

Chicago Purchasing Managers Index (%, SA) Mar Feb Jan Mar'14 2014 2013 2012
ISM-Adjusted General Business Barometer 50.9 48.3 56.2 55.3 59.4 54.3 54.8
General Business Barometer 46.3 45.8 59.4 57.4 60.7 56.1 54.6
  Production 49.3 44.8 64.1 62.7 64.5 58.3 57.6
  New Orders 42.3 42.0 61.6 60.7 63.8 59.2 55.1
  Order Backlogs 41.9 41.1 51.9 51.6 54.2 48.9 48.0
  Inventories 58.0 46.7 40.1 44.8 56.0 45.7 51.4
  Employment 50.3 49.8 60.1 51.6 56.0 55.6 55.3
  Supplier Deliveries 54.8 58.3 54.9 56.5 56.5 52.5 54.9
  Prices Paid 45.7 47.8 44.2 55.1 61.0 59.9 62.2
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