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Chicago-area business activity unexpectedly grew at a faster rate in the month of October, according to a report released by MNI Indicators on Friday.

MNI Indicators said its Chicago business barometer climbed to 68.4 in October from 64.7 in September, with a reading above 50 indicating growth. The increase surprised economists, who had expected the business barometer to dip to 63.5.

The unexpected advance by the business barometer was partly due to a rebound by the new orders index, which climbed 3.1 points after hitting a six-month low in September.

However, MNI Indicators noted some businesses said raw material shortages and a low supply of critical components like semiconductors at suppliers was impacting opportunities.

The report also showed the employment index increased for the fourth straight month, rising 4.2 points to reach its highest level in just over three years.

The order backlogs index also jumped by 13.5 points, recovering more than half of the steep drop seen in the previous month.

With firms reporting worsening port congestion and ongoing logistical issues with trucking, rail, and even air cargo, the supplier deliveries also increased to 84.7.

Meanwhile, MNI Indicators said the production index was the only component to decrease in October, falling by 2.2 points to its lowest level since August 2020.


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