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Economy in Brief

U.S. Chicago Business Barometer Improves in January
by Tom Moeller  January 31, 2022

• Index increases to three-month high.

• New orders ease but employment strengthens.

• Prices weaken for a third month.

The ISM-Chicago Purchasing Managers Business Barometer rose to 65.2 during January from 64.3 in December, revised from 63.1. The Action Economics Forecast expected a 62.1. An index above 50 suggests growing business activity in the Chicago area. Haver Analytics constructs an ISM-Adjusted Chicago Business Barometer with methodology similar to the ISM Composite Index. This measure was little-changed at 63.5 versus December's 63.4.

To the upside, the employment index rose to 49.1 in January and made up most of the December decline to 44.5. Fourteen percent (NSA) of respondents reported higher employment while 16% reported less. The supplier deliveries series rose to 87.6 from 81.8 and was at the highest level since August. Sixty-nine percent of respondents reported slower product delivery speeds while none reported quicker speeds. The orders backlog index rose to 61.9 and recovered most of the December weakening.

Working lower in January was the production index to 60.6, down from the high of 70.0 last April. The figure has been little-changed for four months. The new orders series weakened to 65.3 this month as a steady 37% of respondents reported more orders but an increased 14% reported a decline. The inventories index fell to 54.8. It remained up from a low of 40 reached in June 2021.

The prices paid index slipped to 89.0 in January from 90.9 in December. A steady eighty-one percent (NSA) of respondents raised prices while none lowered them.

Figures for 2021 were revised. The MNI Chicago Report is produced by MNI in partnership with ISM-Chicago. The survey is collected online each month from manufacturing and nonmanufacturing firms in the Chicago area. Summary data are contained in Haver's USECON database with detail including the ISM-style index in the SURVEYS database.

Chicago Purchasing Managers Index (%, SA) Jan Dec Nov Jan'21 2021 2020 2019
General Business Barometer 65.2 64.3 63.5 64.0 66.7 49.0 51.4
ISM-Adjusted General Business Barometer 63.5 63.4 63.2 60.1 62.5 49.6 51.5
   Production 60.6 62.9 62.2 69.3 65.0 48.0 51.3
   New Orders 65.3 67.3 60.2 64.5 66.5 47.2 52.0
   Order Backlogs 61.9 58.7 62.8 62.1 66.8 42.7 47.0
   Inventories 54.8 60.6 58.4 51.6 49.8 44.7 48.7
   Employment 49.1 44.5 51.2 43.7 49.8 41.8 49.6
   Supplier Deliveries 87.6 81.8 84.2 71.5 81.2 66.4 55.6
   Prices Paid 89.0 90.9 93.6 76.1 88.0 59.5 58.6
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