Last Update: 28-Feb-14 10:12 ET
- The Chicago PMI increased to 59.8 in February from 59.6 in January. The Briefing.com consensus expected the Chicago PMI to fall to 56.0.
- Analysts have been quick to blame extreme winter weather conditions as the culprit for the recent poor economic data trends. Yet, the blustery weather in February had absolutely no effect on Chicago-area manufacturers.
- This is another data point that suggests the weather is being used as a scapegoat during a cyclical down period.
- The increase in the PMI was primarily the result of a strong uptick in employment levels. The employment Index reversed a one-month contraction and increased to 59.3 from 49.2.
- New order levels softened as the index fell to 63.6 from 64.6. Still, that is the fifth consecutive month of order levels above what is normally an unsustainable level of 60.0. Backlogs also weakened, falling to 53.7 from 58.8.
- The slight weakness in orders led to a small drop in production, but it is in no danger of contracting. The related index fell to 59.6 from 61.0.
- The Chicago PMI has little overall economic value, and is only watched by the financial markets because it is usually released one day in advance of the similar national ISM manufacturing survey. A significant move in this regional survey will therefore sometimes be seen as having predictive value for the ISM index.