Midwest Manufacturing Jumps in November


Business activity across the Midwest accelerated in November, as new orders, production and backlogs increased during the month, though employment declined.

The Chicago Business Barometer, also known as the Chicago PMI, jumped to 57.6 in November from 50.6 in October, reaching its highest since January. The index remained solidly above the 50 mark, which separates expansion from contraction.

Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal had expected the closely followed business gauge reported by the Institute for Supply Management to rise to 52.0.

The Chicago reading is one of several monthly regional surveys meant to measure the health of U.S. production. The report is slightly different from others in that it includes some companies from the bigger and better-faring services sector and because it isn't conducted by a regional Federal Reserve bank.

The index is known to be volatile, partly because it is influenced by swings in orders for aerospace giant Boeing Co.

In November, the survey was lead by growth in new orders. Production also rose and backlogs grew after previously contracting. Employment fell back.

Most survey respondents expected businesses to do somewhat better in 2017 than in 2016.

Write to Austen Hufford at austen.hufford@wsj.com