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Financial News: Chicago Business Barometer Unexpectedly Edges Lower In Aug

Chicago Business Barometer Unexpectedly Edges Lower In August

08/28/2020 - 10:23:00 (RTTNews)

(RTTNews) - A report released by MNI Indicators on Friday showed a modest decrease by its reading on Chicago-area business activity in the month of August, although the Chicago business barometer still pointed to growth.

MNI Indicators said its Chicago business barometer edged down to 51.2 in August from 51.9 in July, but a reading above 50 still indicates growth in Chicago-area business activity. Economists had expected the barometer to inch up to 52.0.

The Chicago business barometer came in above 50 for the second straight month after having sat below it for a full year.

The modest drop by the headline index came even though the production index improved further in August, increasing by 1.4 points to the highest level since June 2019. Demand also improved, with the new orders index inching up to a one-year high.

MNI Indicators said anecdotal evidence suggests the industrial and agricultural sector were hit the hardest and recovered only slowly, while the medical sector is faring very well.

Meanwhile, the report said the order backlogs index edged down by 1 point in August following a strong increase in the previous month. The indicator has been in contraction since August 2019.

The employment index ticked up 0.9 points but continues to indicate a contraction, as firms again noted staff reductions due to the Covid-19 crisis.

On the inflation front, MNI Indicators said prices paid at the factory gate decreased by 1.9 points in August after three consecutive months of gains.

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