CHICAGO Business activity in the U.S. Midwest expanded for the first time since August, a report showed on Friday, buoyed by an improvement in the labor market.
But the forward-looking new orders gauge dropped to its lowest in more than three years, suggesting the improvement may be short-lived.
The Institute for Supply Management-Chicago business barometer rose to 50.4, just shy of the 50.5 reading forecast by economists. The measure was 49.9 in October.
A reading above 50 indicates expansion in the regional economy.
The forward-looking new orders index fell to 45.3 from 50.6 -- the lowest since June 2009. The gauge of employment rose to 55.2 from 50.3.