Chicago Business Barometer Jumps To Highest Level Since Early 2015

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( - Growth in Chicago-area business activity saw a significant acceleration in the month of November, according to a report released by MNI Indicators on Wednesday.

MNI Indicators said its Chicago business barometer jumped to 57.6 in November from 50.6 in October, with a reading above 50 indicating growth in regional business activity. Economists had expected the index to edge up to 52.0.

With the much bigger than expected increase, the Chicago business barometer climbed to its highest level since January of 2015.

The production, order backlogs, and supplier deliveries indexes also increased, while the employment index slipped back into contraction after a short-lived recovery in the previous month.

The business barometer has been volatile in recent months, but MNI Indicators said the latest results are positive given that the barometer was in contractionary territory in the same period last year.

"The November reading for the Business Barometer marked the sixth month of expansionary business activity in the U.S.," said Shaily Mittal
, senior economist at MNI Indicators. "Strength in orders, a recovery in oil prices and the stronger dollar have all impacted businesses with varying degrees."

She added, "Respondents to our survey also remain optimistic about business activity in 2017, although the new government's policies and the Fed's approach towards monetary tightening would impact the course of business activity over the next year."

On the inflation front, the report said the prices paid index fell to 56.8 in November, suggesting inflationary pressures at the factory-gate eased slightly after picking up in October.

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