Business activity in the Midwest region picked up unexpectedly in November, the Chicago purchasing managers index showed on Nov. 30, highlighting growing strength in the manufacturing sector.
The Chicago PMI rose to 56.1 in November from 54.2. Most analysts had expected a slight decline to 53.3.
The expansion in business activity indicates "the economy appears to have regained its footing, climbing out of the hole created by the Great Financial Recession of 2007-2009," according to the report compiled by the Chicago branch of the Institute for Supply Management and Kingsbury International.
The production component of the regional index slowed, but new orders increased at the fastest pace in more than two years and supplier deliveries surged to the highest level since July 2008.
Businesses continued to shed jobs for the 24th consecutive month but "at the slowest rate in a year," while prices paid showed the broadest rise in 12 months.
"The stronger than anticipated ISM-Chicago suggests that the recovery in manufacturing is spreading beyond autos," said Ryan Sweet of Moody's Economy.com.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2009