report revealed on Friday that business activity in Chicago decreased this
month, as business confidence cooled further amid the COVID-19 crisis.
The MNI Chicago Business Barometer, also known as Chicago purchasing manager's index (PMI) came in at 32.3 in May, down from an unrevised 35.4 in April. That was the lowest level since March 1982.
Economists had forecast the index to increase to 40.0.
A reading above 50 indicates improving conditions, while a reading below this level shows worsening of the situation.
According to the report, New Orders decreased by 2.3 points to the lowest since July 1980, while Production ticked down 6.3 percent in May, remaining at a 40-year low as firms reported pandemic-induced temporary shutdowns. In addition, Order Backlogs dropped 28.0 percent to the lowest level since March 2009, and Supplier Deliveries fell by 5.8 percent. Meanwhile, Employment edged marginally higher, rebounding after April’s sharp drop, and Inventories rose further, with firms noting a higher level than needed.
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