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Data: Institute for Supply Management; Chart: Axios Visuals

Manufacturing in the Midwest, a telltale sign for the overall health of the industry, is recovering but not as fast as hoped and employment continues to lag, new data show.

What's happening: The August reading of the Chicago Business Barometer, or Chicago PMI, fell seven-tenths on the month to 51.2, but was the second consecutive reading above 50 after having been below that number for about a year.

  • Fifty is the barrier that separates expansion and contraction.

By the numbers: Production improved further in August, rising 1.4 points to the highest level since June 2019. Companies noted that previously pushed out orders led to an increase in production, with demand up as well, and new orders edging up to a one-year high.

  • Employment rose 0.9 points but remains in contraction for a 14th straight month, and firms again noted staff reductions due to the coronavirus pandemic.

What they're saying: "Anecdotal evidence suggests that the industrial and agricultural sector were hit the hardest and recovered only slowly, while the medical sector is faring very well," the report from the Institute for Supply Management noted.

Watch this space: A majority of respondents (55.6%) said they do not expect to return to full operating capacity until 2021 or later, while 26.7% are back at normal capacity already.

  • Only 8.9% of respondents forecast utilizing their full capacity in Q3 2020 and Q4 2020, respectively, the report found.

Go deeper

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Dec 2, 2020 - Energy & Environment

The chasm between CO2 goals and energy production

Reproduced from The Production Gap Report: 2020 Special Report; Chart: Axios Visuals

Projected and planned levels of global oil, natural gas and coal production are way out of step with the kind of emissions cuts needed to hold global warming significantly in check, a new analysis shows.

Why it matters: The "production gap" report from the UN's environment agency and other researchers provides another lens onto how the world is nowhere near on track to meet the Paris climate deal's goals.

“You blew it”: GOP activist turns on corporations over vaccine mandates

The chairman of the American Conservative Union said on "Axios on HBO" he accepts "Joe Biden is my president, and I want him to succeed," but predicted Republicans retake the House and Senate in 2022 — with greater than 50% odds Donald Trump runs in 2024.

The big picture: In a joint interview with his wife, Mercedes, Matt Schlapp also refused to share their vaccination status. And he told corporate America "you blew it" by embracing vaccine mandates and liberal social stances that have alienated GOP voters and politicians.

16 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Pelosi expects “billionaire’s tax” to pay for Biden social spending

Photo: Yasin Ozturk/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Sunday she expects the chamber to pass the bipartisan infrastructure plan by week’s end, and alternatives to corporate tax hikes and a “billionaires tax” will be used to finance President Biden’s promised expansion to the social safety net.

Why it matters: Pelosi’s comments come as House and Senate leaders try to wrap up a deal. What will get cut — and how the remainder will be paid — are linchpins to a final agreement.