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Growth in Chicago-area business activity continued to slow in the month of September, according to a report released by MNI Indicators on Thursday.

MNI Indicators said its Chicago business barometer slipped to 64.7 in September after slumping to 66.8 in August, although a reading above 50 still indicates growth. Economists had expected the business barometer to edge down to 65.0.

The report said the orders backlogs index pulled back sharply to a six-month low of 61.1 in September, with companies saying supply shortages continue to weigh on production.

The new orders index also fell by 3.4 points to 64.4, as businesses continue to grapple with raw material shortages and a low supply of critical components like semiconductors.

MNI Indicators said the supplier deliveries index tumbled by 11.6 points to 81.2 in September, as firms reported worsening port congestion and ongoing problems with ocean, rail trucking, and even air cargo.

On the inflation front, the prices paid index slid by 3.2 points to a four-month low of 90.7, although many companies said prices were still an issue.

The report said the production index also edged down by 0.3 points to 60.7 in September, hitting its lowest level since June.

Meanwhile, the employment index was the only indicator that saw an increase, rising 4.1 points to 52.4, the highest since April.


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