The February reading of Chicago PMI is out.
The regional index rose to 59.8, well above economist expectatations of 56.4 (and up from 59.6 in January).
The Chicago Business Barometer remained broadly unchanged at 59.8 in February compared with 59.6 in January, as a double-digit gain in Employment offset declines in New Orders, Production and Order Backlogs.
The Chicago Report points to firm growth and a continued recovery in the US economy, with the Barometer standing at its highest level since December and remaining around 60 for the fifth consecutive month.
Some panellists cited the negative effect of the poor weather on their business, although overall this appeared to have a minor impact that was only visible in longer supplier lead times.
After expanding at a faster rate in January, Production and New Orders decelerated in February, while a more pronounced set back was seen in Order Backlogs.
In contrast, the Employment Indicator bounced back sharply in February, jumping out of contraction, and nearly reversing the declines seen in the previous two months.
Prices Paid fell in February, following January’s supplier led price hikes, which had pushed the indicator to the highest level since November 2012.
Inventory of finished goods expanded a little faster as companies continued to rebuild stocks, following December’s sharp drawdown.
Commenting on the MNI Chicago Report, Philip Uglow, Chief Economist at MNI Indicators said, “The latest Chicago Report confirms that the US economic recovery continued in February, with New Orders and Production remaining at high levels.”
“In line with the pick-up in demand, firms continued to rebuild inventory and just over 50% of respondents said they planned to increase stock levels over the next three months.”