Chicago Business Barometer Surges in June, Signaling Recovery in U.S. Manufacturing Sector

Chicago Business Barometer Surges in June, Signaling Recovery in U.S. Manufacturing Sector

ALQ Capital
2 min read

Chicago Business Barometer Signals Recovery in U.S. Manufacturing Industry

In a positive turn of events, the Chicago Business Barometer, a significant index of business activity in the Chicago area, rose sharply in June, ending six consecutive months of decline. The index, compiled by MNI Indicators, surged to 47.4 in June from 35.4 in May, according to a survey published on Friday. This increase exceeded economists' expectations, which had forecast a rise to 40.0 according to a Wall Street Journal poll. While the barometer remains below 50, indicating continued contraction, this is the highest reading since November 2023 and suggests a substantial improvement in business conditions driven by increased demand.

Key Takeaways

  • Index Improvement: The Chicago Business Barometer jumped to 47.4 in June from 35.4 in May.
  • Exceeding Expectations: The increase surpassed economists' predictions of a rise to 40.0.
  • Continued Contraction: Despite the improvement, the index remains below 50, indicating ongoing contraction.
  • Subcomponent Gains: Key subcomponents such as new orders, order backlogs, production, employment, and supplier deliveries all showed improvement.
  • Inflationary Easing: The gauge of prices paid fell to its lowest level since June 2023, indicating some easing of inflationary pressures.


The Chicago Business Barometer is a leading economic indicator derived from monthly surveys of purchasing managers in the Chicago metropolitan area. These managers provide early insights into current business conditions, including new orders, inventory levels, production, supplier deliveries, and employment. The significant rise in the index from 35.4 to 47.4 is particularly noteworthy as it marks a substantial recovery in demand, signaling that the manufacturing sector is stabilizing after a prolonged period of decline.

This increase was primarily driven by rising new orders, which suggests that businesses are starting to experience a rebound in demand for their products. Improvements in other subcomponents, such as order backlogs, production, employment, and supplier deliveries, further indicate a broad-based recovery in manufacturing activity. Additionally, the decline in the prices paid component to its lowest level since June 2023 suggests that inflationary pressures may be easing, providing some relief to businesses facing rising costs.

While the Chicago Business Barometer focuses on the Chicago region, it is often used to infer broader national trends in the manufacturing sector due to Chicago's economic significance and the index's historical correlation with national indicators like the ISM Manufacturing PMI. The barometer's recovery is thus seen as an early signal of potential improvements in the U.S. manufacturing sector at large.

Did You Know?

The Chicago Business Barometer is not just a regional indicator; it has significant implications for national economic analysis. Here's why:

  • Economic Hub: Chicago is a major economic center with a diverse manufacturing base, making its business activity reflective of broader national trends.
  • Correlation with National Indicators: The Chicago PMI has historically shown a strong correlation with other national manufacturing indices, providing valuable insights for analysts and investors.
  • Leading Economic Indicator: As a leading indicator, the Chicago Business Barometer often changes before the overall economy, offering early signals of economic expansions or contractions.
  • Survey-Based Insights: The barometer is based on direct survey responses from purchasing managers, who have firsthand knowledge of current business conditions, making it a reliable predictor of future economic activity.

The latest rise in the Chicago Business Barometer to 47.4 is a promising sign for the manufacturing sector, indicating that the industry may be on a path to recovery. While it still signals contraction, the pace of decline has slowed considerably, offering a glimmer of hope for a broader economic rebound in the coming months.

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