Midwest manufacturing activity took a breather in January, dragged lower by the auto and machinery sectors.
The Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago said Monday its Midwest Manufacturing Index fell 2.3 percent in January, to a seasonally adjusted level of 102.1, its lowest reading since October 2005.
Revised data show the index rose 0.8 percent in December, to 104.6.
While the four regional industry sectors all fell in January, the auto sector and machinery sectors softened the most, down by 3.5 percent and 2.7 percent, respectively.
The Midwest’s auto sector production drop of 3.5 percent was more than the nation’s auto output falloff 2.1 percent in January. Compared with a year earlier, the Midwest’s automotive output was down 4.9 percent, while the nation’s auto output edged up 0.3 percent.
The Midwest’s machinery sector output decreased 2.7 percent in January after rising by the same amount in December. The nation’s machinery output fell 0.2 percent in January. Regional machinery output in January was 3.6 percent above year-earlier levels, while national machinery output was up 13.1 percent.
The Midwest resource sector’s output was down 2.0 percent in January, unchanged
in December. The nation’s resource sector’s output was down 0.9 percent in January. All five of the subsectors of the resource sector — paper, wood, food production, chemicals production, and nonmetallic minerals production — decreased in January. Compared with a year ago, both regional and national resource output were down 1.3 percent in January.
The region’s steel sector output edged down 0.1 percent in January, after falling 1.0 percent in December. The nation’s steel output was down 0.2 percent in January. Regional steel output was 1.1 percent below its January 2006 level, slightly higher than the 1.2 percent decrease in the nation’s steel output.
The Chicago Fed Midwest Manufacturing Index is a monthly estimate of manufacturing output in the region by major industry. The Midwest is defined as the five states comprising the Seventh Federal Reserve District: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, and Wisconsin.