Midwest Manufacturing Sector Expansion Cools

By Paul RekoffDow Jones Newswires

The closely watched economic indicator missed expectations in December after a steep decline in its gauge of demand.

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The Chicago Business Barometer declined to 59.1 last month from 63 in October. A survey of analysts forecast 60.8.

The monthly survey by the Institute for Supply Management-Chicago, better known as the Chicago PMI, polls purchasing managers in the retail, manufacturing and resource sectors, and is seen by traders and analysts as providing a look at national economic trends.

The new orders category, an indicator of demand, swooned to 43.9 from 68.8 in November. The employment index also contributed to the overall decline by falling to 51.6 from 60.9. The prices paid category also inched down to 63.3 from 63.7.

Supplier deliveries was the only category posting a gain in December, moving to 60.7 from 56.2 in November.

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