Chicago PMI: May Levels Lowest Since 1982

The Chicago Business Barometer, also known as the Chicago Purchasing Manager's Index, is similar to the national ISM Manufacturing indicator but at a regional level and is seen by many as an indicator of the larger US economy. It is a composite diffusion indicator, made up of production, new orders, order backlogs, employment, and supplier deliveries compiled through surveys. Values above 50.0 indicate expanding manufacturing activity.

The latest Chicago Purchasing Manager's Index, or the Chicago Business Barometer, fell to 32.2 in May from 35.4 in April, which is in contraction territory. Values above 50.0 indicate expanding manufacturing activity.

Here is an excerpt from the press release:

The Chicago Business BarometerTM, produced with MNI, fell to 32.3 in May, hitting the lowest level since March 1982, as business confidence cooled further amid the Covid-19 crisis.

Among the main five indicators, Order Backlogs and Supplier Deliveries saw the largest declines, while Employment edged marginally higher. [Source]

Let's take a look at the Chicago PMI since its inception.

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Chicago PMI

Here's a closer look at the indicator since 2000.

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Let's compare the Chicago PMI with the more popular national ISM Manufacturing Index. Both indices clearly follow one another with the ISM falling slightly lower on average. Note the ISM Manufacturing indicator is through the previous month.

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