The July Chicago PMI was 43.4, about in line with expectations of 43 and up from 39.9 in June and it’s the highest level since the Sept ’08 reading of 55.9. New Orders remained below 50 but jumped 6.4 points to 48. Backlogs however fell 5.5 points to 32.1. Inventories remained extremely lean, falling to 25.4 from 34.2, the lowest since 1949 and is the perfect set up for a sharp contribution to GDP from this area in the 2nd half of the year, led by auto’s and related sectors. The employment index rose 6.4 points to 35.3, well below 50 but at the highest level since Dec ’08. Prices paid fell a touch. Bottom line, the data confirms the backdrop for an improvement in GDP. The degree and sustainability of the recovery will however remain in the hands of end demand, aka, predominantly the US consumer.
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