Business activity in the Chicago area suffered more than economists expected in March, with the Chicago Purchasing Managers Index down to 31.4, against expectations of a 34.3 reading.The index came in at 34.2 in February.
The largest drop was in order backlogs, down to 21.3 from 29.3. New orders climbed marginally to 30.9 from 30.6. Falling inflation continues, with the prices paid component dropping to 34.1 from 37.8. Production was down to 32.7 from 34.7.
Inventories climbed to 34.9 from 33.0, and the employment component improved to 28.1 from 25.2.