Strong Gain Pushes Index to Record High
The Chicago Fed Midwest Manufacturing Index (CFMMI) rose 1.1 percent in February, to a record level, rebounding from January’s 0.2 percent decline. By comparison, the Federal Reserve Board’s industrial production index for manufacturing increased by a slightly slower 0.8 percent for the same period. For the first time since June 1996, all sectors of the CFMMI posted positive monthly growth. In addition, with the exception of the machinery sector, all other sectors in the region’s index outperformed the nation’s index. The growth in the region’s machinery sector has lagged the nation’s growth for the past six months. In particular, industrial machinery and equipment, a component of the machinery sector and the region’s second largest manufacturing industry, has underperformed its national counterpart for a year.