2022.12.3014:50:00UTC+00Chicago Business Barometer Rebounds More Than Expected In December

A report released by MNI Indicators on Friday showed a bigger than expected slowdown in the pace of contraction in Chicago-area business activity in the month of December.

MNI Indicators said its Chicago business barometer climbed to 44.9 in December from 37.2 in November, although a reading below 50 still indicates a contraction. Economists had expected the index to rise to 41.2.

The bigger than expected rebound came after the Chicago business barometer fell to its lowest reading since the 2008/09 global financial crisis, excluding the 2020 pandemic shock.

The report showed the new orders index jumped to 44.1 in December from 30.7 in November, reflecting a number of last-minute and year-end blanket orders.

The production index also rose to 39.2 in December from 35.9 in November, although MNI Indicators said material and staff shortages were cited as hampering production.

Meanwhile, MNI Indicators said the employment index slid to 40.8 in December from 47.1 in November, as firms struggled to replace employees that had retired or changed workplaces.

The report also showed the prices paid index fell to 64.1 in December from 66.2 in November, dropping to its lowest level since September 2020.

MNI Indicators said some firms are expecting higher labor costs, whilst others highlighted lower demand and falling oil and steel prices pushing prices down.

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