Manufacturing activity in the Chicago area was steady in December. Much of the nation's manufacturing is done in the geographic region monitored by the Chicago Purchasing Managers in the Chicago Business Barometer. Their report, released Dec. 29, indicated a positive three-month trend but growth was slower on a seasonally adjusted basis than in the previous month. The overall index was 61.5, down from November's 61.7, but a full point higher than the 60.5 in September.
Production at 63.1 was down 0.7 from November. Employment up 1.4 to 51.7 also showed little change.
New orders rose significantly from 61.6 in November to 66.7, and inventories jumped from 54.4to 61.2.
Making a comeback, spending for capital equipment rose 9.3 percentage points to 119.5 after a two-month decline from September's 142.3 to November's 110.2.