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First Cut: MNI-ISM Chicago Business Barometer returns to positive territory after two months of contraction

The MNI-ISM Chicago Business Barometer index managed to crest then neutral mark and rise to 50.4 in August after two months below 50. The report said the gain reflected stronger — if soft — production, and slightly firmer new orders and larger backlogs. There was a sharp fall in the reading for supplier deliveries, and inventories slipped into contraction.

Like the surveys for manufacturing and services — of which this survey includes both types of respondents — August was a month in which some of the weakness eased, but conditions remain far from the robust heights of 2018.

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