Economic Growth Indicated in the Midwest

May 7 — The latest Midwest Economy Index, released by the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, moved from +0.41 in February to +0.52 in March. Contributions for the March MEI from three of the four broad sectors of nonfarm business activity and three of the five Seventh Federal Reserve District states increased from February; however, the relative MEI declined to +0.31 in March, down from +0.43 in February. Contributions to the March relative MEI from three of the four sectors and four of the five states decreased from February as well.

Manufacturing, construction, services and consumer business activity were surveyed in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan and Wisconsin.

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Manufacturing edged up to +0.47 in March from +0.43 in February, and the pace of manufacturing activity increased in all states but Illinois. The relative MEI for manufacturing declined to +0.32 from February’s +0.55.

The construction and mining sector’s increased from +0.01 in February to +0.07 in March with stronger activity in Indiana, Michigan and Wisconsin. Illinois and Iowa remained unchanged. The relative MEI rose to +0.11, up from +0.06 previously.

Services fell slightly, from -0.03 in February to -0.04 in March. Pace of activity fell in Iowa but rose in Michigan and Wisconsin. Illinois and Indiana remain unchanged. The relative MEI also decreased falling from -0.20 to -0.30.

Consumer spending indicators rose from -0.20 in February to +0.02 in March with indicators up in all states but Iowa, which remained steady. The relative MEI fell to neutral, from +0.02 previously.

The next MEI will be released May 31 and will contain data from April 2018.

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