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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.

Updated 32 mins ago - World

Mexican President López Obrador tests positive for coronavirus

Mexico's President Andrés Manuel López Obrador during a press conference at National Palace in Mexico City, Mexico, on Wednesday. Photo: Ismael Rosas/Eyepix Group/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador announced Sunday evening that he's tested positive for COVID-19.

Driving the news: López Obrador tweeted that he has mild symptoms and is receiving medical treatment. "As always, I am optimistic," he added. "We will all move forward."

48 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Sarah Huckabee Sanders to run for governor of Arkansas

Sarah Huckabee Sanders at FOX News' studios in New York City in 2019. Photo: Steven Ferdman/Getty Images

Former White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders will announce Monday that she's running for governor of Arkansas.

The big picture: Sanders was touted as a contender after it was announced she was leaving the Trump administration in June 2019. Then-President Trump tweeted he hoped she would run for governor, adding "she would be fantastic." Sanders is "seen as leader in the polls" in the Republican state, notes the Washington Post's Josh Dawsey, who first reported the news.