• 16 hours From Frenzy To Flop, The Death Of This Year’s Most Hyped IPO
  • 21 hours Are Smart TVs Spying On Us?
  • 23 hours Is Fossil Fuel Divestment A Waste Of Time?
  • 2 days A Russian Billionaire’s Space Quest To Save Humanity
  • 2 days Markets Take Breather As Consolidation Continues
  • 2 days Economic Woes Weigh On Copper Prices
  • 2 days World's Largest IPO At Risk Following Drone Strikes
  • 3 days Gold Is Beating Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway
  • 3 days What’s Behind The Silver Sell-Off?
  • 3 days The Retail Apocalypse Is Accelerating
  • 3 days The Top Tech Stocks Of The Year
  • 4 days America’s Workforce Elderly Workforce To Double By 2028
  • 4 days Toyota Tests Solar-Powered Prius
  • 5 days Why The Gold Rally Flatlined
  • 5 days The Uranium Sector Can’t Catch A Break
  • 6 days Upcoming Fed Meeting Has Investors On Edge
  • 6 days Global Gold Sector Outlines Responsible Mining Principles
  • 7 days China’s Giant Vampire Fund Loses $120B
  • 7 days McDonalds To Roll Out Robot Drive-Thru Clerks
  • 7 days Savvy Investors Are Betting Big On This Little Data Company
The Problem With Modern Monetary Theory

The Problem With Modern Monetary Theory

Modern monetary theory has been…

Billionaires Are Pushing Art To New Limits

Billionaires Are Pushing Art To New Limits

Welcome to Art Basel: The…

Zombie Foreclosures On The Rise In The U.S.

Zombie Foreclosures On The Rise In The U.S.

During the quarter there were…

  1. Home
  2. Markets
  3. Other

Chicago PMI Contracts Again, 6th Time in 10 Months; Service Economy Poised for a Big Slowdown?

Volatility in the Chicago PMI likely has economists scratching their heads. Following last month's surge comes this month's contraction. It's been off and on for 10 months. No swing in either direction has lasted more than two months.

Yet, the overall trend has been weakening for a year and economists this month's forecast by a mile. The Econoday Consensus estimate was for a reading of +54.0 in a range of 52.8 to 56.5. The actual reading was 48.7.

Volatility is what to expect from the Chicago PMI which, at 48.7, is back in contraction in November after surging into solid expansion at 56.2 in October. Up and down and up and down is the pattern with prior readings at 48.7 in September (the same as November) and 54.4 in August.

New orders are down sharply and are back in contraction while backlog orders are in a 10th month of contraction. Production soared nearly 20 points in October but reversed most of the gain in November. Despite November's weakness, employment is up slightly. Prices paid is in contraction for a fourth straight month.

Though this report points to November weakness for the whole of the Chicago economy, the volatility of the report should limit its impact on the month's outlook.


ISM Chicago vs. Manufacturing ISM

ISM-Chicago Business Barometer

Something clearly changed in February, and it wasn't the weather.


Service Economy Poised for a Big Slowdown?

The Chicago PMI survey includes both manufacturing and non-manufacturing components so it is not directly comparable to pure manufacturing surveys. That makes matters worse actually, given economists generally consider the service economy to be in good shape.

Bloomberg proposes the volatility of the report should limit its impact on the month's outlook.

I suggest volatility is a sign of a trend change as well as underlying weakness. And the backlog of orders, one place where there has been consistent contraction for 10 months, does not bode well for future hiring needs.

All things considered, the Chicago PMI is a warning that the service economy may be on its last legs.

 

Back to homepage

Leave a comment

Leave a comment