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MNI: Chicago Business Barometer™ Weakens to 45.2 in October

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MNI: Chicago Business Barometer™ Weakens Further in October

MNI (London)
(MNI) Chicago
The Chicago Business BarometerTM, produced with MNI, dipped a further half-point to 45.2 in October, contracting for a second consecutive month.

After the across-the-board September plunge, most indicators saw marginal improvements in October, whilst New Orders and Supplier Deliveries slipped further. Order Backlogs and Employment recorded stronger upticks (albeit remaining in contraction).

Source: MNI / ISM

NEW ORDERS CONTINUED TO CONTRACT

New Orders contracted for the fifth consecutive month. Weak economic outlooks are dragging on demand. The indicator last fell below 40 in the initial pandemic shock of 2020.

Production saw a marginal 0.6-point improvement to 45.1 in October yet remained 10 points below the 12-month average. Over one-third of respondents noted lower production compared to September, with continued issues over labor and material shortages cited.

Inventories ticked up again in October, which will be in part underpinned by lower new orders and contractive production. Despite remaining high, firms are moving towards normalising levels of stock.

PRICE PRESSURES SHOWED SIGNS OF WEAKER GROWTH

Prices Paid saw a small 0.7-point uptick to 74.8 in October. This remains 9.6 points below the 12-month average, implying downward trend pressure on prices. Half of firms experienced increased prices in October, compared to around 80% in the first half of the year. Falling container costs and the strong US dollar are contributing to lower logistical costs. Lower commodity prices are taking time to feed through to manufacturers.

Employment also rose, up 5.4 points to 45.6 after recording a stark September decline. The indicator was the weakest in six months barring the September fall.


The survey ran from October 1 to 17.

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