NEW YORK Jan 31 The pace of business activity
in the U.S. Midwest picked up in January from a more than
three-year low the month before as new orders jumped, a report
showed on Thursday.
The Institute for Supply Management-Chicago business
barometer rose to its highest since April 2012 at 55.6 from 50.0
in December, easily topping economists' forecasts for 50.5.
December's revised reading had been the lowest since
September 2009. A reading above 50 indicates expansion in the
The gauge of new orders gained to 58.2 from 50.4, while the
employment component climbed to 58.0 from 46.8. The measures
were at their highest since March and June, respectively.
The figures are one of the last looks at regional
manufacturing ahead of Friday's national report from the
Institute for Supply Management, which is expected to show the
sector expanded in January, but only barely.
The Chicago report was stronger than data released earlier
in the month on manufacturing in New York state and the U.S.
mid-Atlantic region, both of which showed contraction.
Financial markets showed little reaction to the report, with
U.S. stocks up slightly in early morning trading.