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Chicago Business Barometer™ – Rose to 63.1 in December

MNI (London)

The Chicago Business Barometer™, produced with MNI, rose to 63.1 in December, picking up again after last month’s decline. Inventories hit a four-year high as firms created buffers for longer lead times.

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Key Points – December 2021 Report

The Chicago Business Barometer™, produced with MNI, rose to 63.1 in December, picking up again after last month’s decline. Inventories hit a four-year high as firms created buffers for longer lead times.

Among the main five indicators, Production and New Orders and were higher. Order Backlogs, Employment and Supplier Deliveries fell across the month.

In December, Production continued to increase, rising modestly by 0.4 point to the highest reading since July 2021.

Employment dipped again for the second month in a row, dropping 7.0 points to the lowest since June 2021. Firms stated that finding new hires to fill empty positions is challenging.

After the sharp November fall, New Orders recovered almost to October’s level, picking up 8.2 points to stand at 66.5.

Supplier Deliveries dropped through December to 80.5, with firms again reporting port congestion and trucking issues. Deliveries were slow, due to labour and raw material shortages.

Order Backlogs dropped 5.2 points to the lowest reading this year. Inventories rose for the third consecutive month, rising 3.0 points to 62.7. Firms expressed the importance of stocking up due to persistent supply chain disruptions.

Prices Paid dropped 4.2 points to a seven-month low of 89.6 in December. This is still above the 12-month average of 88.0, as shortages of certain materials led to inflated costs.

SPECIAL QUESTION

This month we asked firms what they anticipated was “the biggest challenge to executing plans for the holiday season?” The largest share (36.4%) said global shortages, followed by logistics (25.0%) and staff shortages (22.7%).

Click below for the full press release:

MNI_Chicago_Press_Release_-_Dec_2021 (1).pdf

For full database history and full report on the Chicago Business Barometer™, please contact:sales@marketnews.com