By Xavier Fontdegloria


Business activity in the Chicago area expanded in October for the fourth consecutive month, although at a slightly slower rate than that of September, data from MNI Indicators showed Friday.

The Chicago Business Barometer came in at 61.1 in October, down from September's reading of 62.4. Economists polled by The Wall Street Journal had expected the barometer to stand at a lower level of 57.9.

The barometer is compiled every month after surveying purchasing and supply management professionals in the Chicago area, who are polled to assess business conditions for their respective companies. Readings above 50 point to improvement of the business climate in the region, while readings below 50 indicate negative changes.

Among the five main indicators, new orders was the only category to show a monthly uptick, while production recorded the largest decline, MNI Indicators said.

New orders rose by a marginal 0.2 points and reached its highest level since November 2018. Production fell by 5.9 points, with some firms noting a drop in demand while others saw a stable level of orders and production or a gradual improvement in business activity.

Order backlogs eased 2.4 points, but the index remained un expansion territory. Inventories eased by a marginal 0.2 points.

Employment is the only major category that is still under contraction territory, the report said, adding that firms noted staff reductions in October as result of the pandemic.

To the question if respondents are planning to make working remotely a permanent option for their employees after the pandemic, the 45.8% were unsure, 35.6% aren't planning to and 18.6% support it.


Write to Xavier Fontdegloria at


(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 30, 2020 10:18 ET (14:18 GMT)

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