A report released by MNI Indicators on Thursday unexpectedly showed a slowdown in the pace of growth in Chicago-area business activity in the month of March.
MNI Indicators said its Chicago business barometer slumped to 57.4 in March from 61.9 in February. While a reading above 50 still indicates growth, economists had expected the barometer to inch up to 62.0.
With the unexpected decrease, the Chicago business barometer dropped to its lowest level in a year.
The drop by the business barometer came as the production index sunk to the lowest level since October of 2016, while the new orders index fell to a level last seen lower just over a year ago.
The order backlogs index also fell to an eleven-month low, while the supplier delivery index inched higher and the employment index ticked up to its second highest level in the past twelve months.
With regard to inflation, MNI Indicators said input price inflation pressures refuse to abate, as the prices paid indicator picked up in March.
"Troubles higher up in firms' supply chains are restraining their productive capacity and higher prices are being passed on to consumers," said Jamie Satchi, Economist at MNI Indicators.
He added, "On a more positive note, firms remain keen to expand their workforce."