Economic Report: Chicago-region businesses improve in December, but they’re still struggling to grow

The economy in the Chicago region improved toward the end of the year, but growth was weak. The numbers: The economy in the Midwest improved in December for the second month in a row, but the region is still suffering from a trade war with China that’s hurt farmers and manufacturers, according to a regional…

Economic Report: Chicago-region businesses improve in December, but they’re still struggling to grow

The economy in the Chicago region improved toward the end of the year, but growth was weak. The numbers: The economy in the Midwest improved in December for the second month in a row, but the region is still suffering from a trade war with China that’s hurt farmers and manufacturers, according to a regional survey. The Chicago Purchasing Management Index rose to 48.9 this month from a revised 46.2 in November and 43.2 in October. The October reading was the weakest since the end of 2015. Although the latest reading was a bit better than Wall Street expected, the index still shows the economy in the Greater Chicago area is contracting. Any reading below 50 indicates deteriorating conditions. What happened: New orders and employment fell at an even faster pace compared to the prior month, but those negatives were largely offset by improved but still soft production numbers.
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