Midwest Factory Activity Picks Up in June

Dow Jones Newswires

An economic yardstick for the manufacturing-heavy U.S. Midwest rose in June but stayed in contraction for the second consecutive month.

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The Chicago Business Barometer, also known as the Chicago PMI, climbed to 49.4 in June from 46.2 in May--marking the fourth month this year the index was below 50, the threshold dividing expansion from contraction.

Activity continues to weaken in the second quarter after an already-depressed opening three months of the year, according to the index.

June's rise was paced by big jumps in the new orders and projection subindexes, which rose 8.8% and 8.7%, respectively. But those were the few highlights in the report.

Philip Uglow, chief economist of MNI Indicators, said, "While the latest increase in new orders is a tentative sign of a pickup in demand over the coming months, there is no getting away from the general softness in the data."

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