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MNI: Chicago Business Barometer Falls in November

(MNI) London

Slowdown in most sub-sectors sends CBB to 61.8, lowest since February, but production edges higher.

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The Chicago Business Barometer fell 6.6 points to 61.8 in November, the lowest reading since February, driven by a slow-down in new orders. Inventories hit a three-year high as firms stock up in an attempt to beat shortages and long lead times.

Among the five main indicators, Inventories saw the largest increase, followed by Production. All other indicators dropped compared to October, with Order Backlogs seeing the largest decline.

Production recovered slightly in November, up 3 points following three straight falls from August to October. New Orders fell back to their February level, down 9.3 points to 58.2.


Order Backlogs dropped 13.8 points to 60.8, 6 points below the 12-month average, as firms reported a reduction in the size of incoming orders.

Supplier Deliveries declined slightly, down 1.5 points, however multiple survey respondents reported November deliveries to be the slowest ever.

Inventories rose 8.5 points to 59.6, the highest since Fall 2018. Some firms reported stockpiling to get ahead of further supply chain disruptions and counteract logistical issues.


Prices Paid dipped 0.5 points to 93.8, but still only just shy of October's multi-decade high with ongoing higher costs for production materials reported.

Employment slipped 5 points to 51.6, reversing the October gain, and now hovers around the 12-month average as firms struggled to find qualified workers to meet vacancies.

This month's special question asked, "Are you seeing any easing up in the supply chain blockages?" The majority (64.9%) said no, whilst 24.3% said somewhat.

The second question asked, "Are you managing to pass the higher costs of doing business onto customers?" A total 78.4% of respondents were at least partially managing to pass costs onwards, with 21.6% unable to