Industrial Activity In Midwest Slumps, Survey Shows

By Agence France-Presse Industrial activity in the U.S. Midwest region slumped in March as production took the biggest dive in 23 years, an industry survey showed March 31. An index of regional business activity, compiled from a survey of purchasing managers in the Chicago region, plunged to 48.4 points in March from 54.9 in February. A reading below 50 points signals a contraction in activity. The slide in the index, compiled by the Chicago Purchasing Management Association, was steeper than had been expected by economists. Among key figures within the survey, the production index plummeted to 49.1 points in March from 62.4 in February, the steepest decline since May 1980. The new orders index retreated to 52.5 points in March from 59.0 in February, the employment index fell to 45.1 from 46.6 and the prices paid index leapt to 62.8 from 54.9. Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2003

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