The Institute for Supply Management (ISM) MNI Chicago Business Barometer fell 3.8 points to 61.9 in February, down from 65.7 in January. That’s the lowest level since August 2017, but still remains at an elevated level and there have been overheating concerns for months.
While all 5 Barometer components slid for the month and for the second straight, it is still up 8% on last February and above the 2017 average of 60.8.
“Disruptive weather conditions this month and large promotions at the back-end of last year appear to have weighed on demand and output in February, but despite the Barometer’s broad-based decline activity remains upbeat,” said Jamie Satchi, Economist at MNI Indicators. “That said, a large proportion of firms are anxious about the cost of input materials, and warn they could pass on these higher costs to consumers if inflationary pressures do not abate.”
The New Orders indicator fell to a six-month low and largely fueled the Barometer’s decline. The Production indicator also fell in February, down to a level last seen lower in September. However, despite these declines, both indicators also remained at elevated levels juxtaposed to recent years.