Chicago business barometer falls to lowest level since 1982

The employment indicator rose, but new orders fell to its lowest point since July 1980, MNI Indicators reported

The Chicago Business Barometer fell this month and hit its lowest point in nearly 40 years, MNI Indicators said.

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The monthly reading was 32.3. Economists polled by The Wall Street Journal were expecting it to be 40.

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MNI Indicators said the reading was the barometer's lowest since March 1982 and that the supplier deliveries and order backlogs indicators -- two of the main five that go into the barometer reading -- fell the most. The latter fell to its lowest level since March 2009, MNI Indicators said.

The employment indicator rose, but new orders fell to its lowest point since July 1980, MNI Indicators reported.

The five sub indicators that go into producing the barometer are employment, order backlogs, new orders, production and supplier deliveries.

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About 27% of businesses asked said they expected Covid-19 to affect business plans for between half a year to nine months, MNI Indicators said. About 23% expected it to affect plans for between nine months to one year and about 19% said they expected it to affect plans for more than that.

Meanwhile, around 10% expected the effects to last for under three months and around 21% expected the effects to last between three to six months, MNI Indicators said.