Midwest Business Barometer Rises

Business activity in the U.S. Midwest unexpectedly rose in February, climbing to its highest level since July 1988, a report showed on Monday.

The Institute for Supply Management-Chicago business barometer rose to 71.2 in February. That was up from a reading 68.8 in January and topped economists' forecast for 67.7.

The employment component of the index slipped to 59.8 from 64.1 the month before, while new orders edged up to 75.9 from 75.7. The new orders index rose to its highest level since December 1983.

A reading above 50 indicates expansion in the regional economy.