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Chicago Business Barometer Pulls Back Sharply In April

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After reporting a significant rebound in the pace of growth in Chicago-area business activity in the previous month, MNI Indicators released a report on Friday showing the pace growth pulled back in the month of April.

MNI Indicators said its Chicago business barometer slumped to 56.4 in April after jumping to 62.9 in March, although a reading above 50 still indicates growth.

The pullback by the Chicago business barometer came as the new orders index and the production index slid to their lowest levels since the summer of 2020.

The new orders index plunged to 51.1 in April from 61.9 in March, while the production index tumbled to 50.9 in April from 60.0 in March.

The report showed the employment index also fell to 45.5 in April from 48.1 in March, as highly competitive labor market conditions continued to make staff retention challenging.

MNI Indicators also said the order backlog index edged down to 63.4 from 64.3, the supplier deliveries index fell to 74.5 from 78.3, and the inventories index slid to 64.6 from 68.7.

Meanwhile, the prices paid index inched up to 86.1 in April from 85.7 in March, with the war in Ukraine cited as inflating steel, plastics and lumber costs.

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