The MNI-ISM Chicago Purchasing Managers Business Barometer bounced back in February, hitting a 64.7 reading after 56.7 in January. The index — which includes both services and factory sector respondents — probably was helped by the end of the partial federal government shutdown in January and a return of federal government dollars to contractors in the service sector. New orders and production were both reported as sharply higher in February, with gains in backlogs and employment as well. A negative for the index was vendor performance, but that did not significantly change the overall tone of the data.
The ISM Chicago report can foreshadow the direction of the ISM Manufacturing Index, however, the regional reports from Fed District Banks for the factory sector suggest a more mixed picture and that a notable upturn in the national report is not likely.
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