MNI Indicators released a report on Tuesday showing a slowdown in the pace of growth in Chicago-area business activity in the month of November.
The report said the Chicago business barometer slid to 61.8 in November from 68.4 in October, although a reading above 50 still indicates growth. Economists had expected the business barometer to edge down to 67.0.
The bigger than expected decrease by the business barometer reflected a slowdown in new orders, with the new orders index pulling back to the February level of 58.2.
The employment index also fell to 51.6, reversing October's gain, as firms struggled to find qualified workers to meet vacancies.
MNI Indicators said the prices paid index also edged down to 93.8 but noted the reading was just shy of October's multi-decade high as firms continued to report higher costs for production materials.
The report said the order backlogs index dropped below the 12-month average, as firms reported a reduction in the size of incoming orders.
Meanwhile, the inventories index climbed to the highest level since the fall of 2018, with some firms stockpiling to get ahead of further supply chain disruptions and counteract logistical issues.
MNI Indicators noted the month's special question asked if firms are seeing any easing up in the supply chain blockages. The vast majority, 64.9 percent, said "No," while 24.3 percent said "Somewhat."
A second questioned asked whether firms are managing to pass higher costs onto customers, with 78.4 percent saying they were at least partially managing to pass costs onwards.