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MNI Chicago Business Barometer™ – Edged Up 36.6 In June

Date 30/06/2020

Key Points – June Report

The Chicago Business BarometerTM, produced with MNI, rose to 36.6 in June with business activity picking up as Covid-19 related shutdowns eased somewhat. Across Q2, business sentiment slipped 11.8 points to 34.8, hitting the lowest level since Q1 2009.

Among the main five indicators, Production and New Orders saw the largest monthly gains, while Supplier Deliveries and Employment faltered.

Production saw the biggest jump in June, rising by 10.1 points. However, the quarterly index dropped to a series low in Q2. Demand strengthened by 33.8% in June, while the quarterly figure fell to the lowest level in 40 years. In Q2, New Orders revealed the largest q/q fall, sinking 20.1 points.

Order Backlogs gained 5 points in June, shifting the index to a two-month high. On a quarterly basis, the indicator declined to an 11-year low.

Inventories dropped by 24.7% in June after rising above 50 in May for the first time in 10 months.

Employment eased 5.1 points in June, marking a twelfth consecutive sub-50 reading. The index also fell on a quarterly basis, slipping by 11.2 points to its lowest level since the global financial crisis.

Supplier Deliveries recorded the second curtailment in a row, as firms continued to mention Covid-19 related delays. While the indicator cooled 10.2% in June, it jumped 22.2% in Q2, marking the highest level since Q1 1979.

Prices paid at the factory gate rose 2.7% in June, while they fell 4.9% on a quarterly basis. Many companies noted the elevated cost for air freight from Asia.

This month’s special question asked: “What are your personnel plans for the rest of the year?”. The majority (55.8%) plan a hiring freeze, while 23.3% expect to lay off employees. Only 18.6% of respondents projected expanding their workforce.