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Economy in Brief

U.S. Chicago Business Barometer Rebounds in March
by Tom Moeller  March 31, 2022

• Component improvement is widespread.

• Employment increases.

• Pricing power eases.

The ISM-Chicago Purchasing Managers Business Barometer increased to 62.9 during March after falling to 56.3 in February. It, nevertheless, remained below the May 2021 peak of 73.3. The Action Economics Forecast Survey expected 57.0. An index above 50 suggests expanding 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 rose to 63.4.

The production measure rose to 60.0 and recovered its February decline. The new orders reading also rose sharply to 61.9 as a steady 36% of respondents (NSA) reported higher orders but a greatly lessened 11% reported a decline. The employment index rose to 48.1 in March but remained below the recent high of 56.4 in October. An increased 15% (NSA) of respondents reported higher employment while a greatly lessened 15% reported less hiring. The supplier deliveries series rose to 78.3 from 75.3. Sixty-three percent of respondents reported slower product delivery speeds while none reported quicker speeds. The orders backlog index rose to 64.3, its highest level since October.

The prices paid index dipped to 85.7 March, down from an October high of 94.1. It was the lowest level in twelve months.

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) Mar Feb Jan Mar'21 2021 2020 2019
General Business Barometer 62.9 56.3 65.2 65.6 66.7 49.0 51.4
ISM-Adjusted General Business Barometer 63.4 56.9 63.5 63.8 62.5 49.6 51.5
   Production 60.0 55.4 60.6 69.9 65.0 48.0 51.3
   New Orders 61.9 53.0 65.3 62.4 66.5 47.2 52.0
   Order Backlogs 64.3 61.8 61.9 59.5 66.8 42.7 47.0
   Inventories 68.7 57.3 54.8 54.4 49.8 44.7 48.7
   Employment 48.1 43.5 49.1 53.1 49.8 41.8 49.6
   Supplier Deliveries 78.3 75.3 87.6 79.0 81.2 66.4 55.6
   Prices Paid 85.7 86.5 89.0 80.9 88.0 59.5 58.6
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