Oct 1, 2020 - Economy & Business

Midwest manufacturing survey soars

Data: Investing.com; Chart: Axios Visuals
Data: Investing.com; Chart: Axios Visuals

Unexpectedly strong U.S. data may have helped pull the stock market out of its funk over the past few days.

Driving the news: Following Tuesday’s stronger-than-expected consumer confidence report from the Conference Board, ADP reported the biggest increase in private-sector job growth in three months Wednesday and a measure of business conditions in the Midwest rose to the highest level since the end of 2018.

  • The Chicago PMI jumped to 62.4 in September from 51.2 in August, and was well above Wall Street’s expectations of 52 (a reading above 50 indicates improving conditions).

One level deeper: New orders and production both rose to nearly two-year highs and all five main components of the index rose.

  • The Midwest region, which had suffered in 2019 as President Trump's trade war with China weighed heavily on demand, has seen particularly strong readings for its manufacturing sector in recent months thanks to a jump in car sales.

Yes, but: Like all purchasing managers indexes, the Chicago PMI only measures sentiment.

  • And while the surveys show things have radically improved, manufacturing’s sales, shipment and employment figures continue to lag well behind January and February’s levels.
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