by Bill McBride on 3/31/2017 09:58:00 AM
Friday, March 31, 2017
The MNI Chicago Business Barometer was broadly stable at 57.7 in March, following a hefty rise of 7.1 points in February to 57.4.This was above the consensus forecast of 57.1.
Following a strong February, firms remained upbeat this month, with the increase led by four of the five components of the Barometer, as only Employment receded. March’s positive outturn left the Q1 calendar quarter average at 55.1, the highest level since Q4 2014.
Demand continued to grow, rising for the second month in a row. New orders rose by 1.2 points, to touch a fourmonth high. To keep pace with rising demand, Production also increased, up 1.4 points to a 14-month high of 61.7 in March. Order Backlogs rose for the third consecutive month, but remained just below the breakeven level, where it has sat for the previous three months. Suppliers took longer to deliver key inputs, with the respective indicator 1.6 points higher at 54.4 in March. Employment slipped back into contraction after rising above 50 briefly last month.
“The March Chicago report echoed last month’s upbeat tone of general business conditions. Though the Barometer was little changed, the underlying trend for many key indicators shows improvement, with a shift away from firms reporting worsening to that of remaining at the same level as last month,” said Shaily Mittal, senior economist at MNI Indicators.
Posted by Bill McBride on 3/31/2017 09:58:00 AM