Manufacturing business activity in the Chicago region climbed for the 37th straight month in May, rising to 61.5 from 57.2 in April, according to the National Association of Purchasing Managers-Chicago.
The latest reading was the highest since the 61.9 recorded last October. Any reading over 50 indicates growth in the manufacturing sector, while readings below 50 indicate contraction.
The prices paid component of the index slipped to 76.9 from 77.2, while new orders rose to 69.6 from 60.8. Employment in the Chicago region saw a healthy rebound, to 52.8 from last month's 47.2, and the production index dropped to 58.5 from 66.6.
"The May report establishes a short-term trend consistent with a strengthening economy," NAPM-Chicago said in a press release, noting increases in the new orders, employment and supplier deliveries. The decline in production, while disappointing, was caused more by stabilizing activity than either a decrease in positives or increase in negatives, the group said, noting that the increase in the new orders component bodes well.
On Thursday, the Institute for Supply Management will release its widely watched national PMI, which is expected to have cooled slightly from April's reading of 57.3.