Washington (awp / dpa) – Growth in manufacturing activity in the Chicago area of ​​the United States slowed somewhat in October, after the sharp increase in September, according to the purchasing managers index of the United States. ISM association published on Friday.

The index fell 1.3 points to 61.1 points, which is however better than the 59 points expected by analysts.

And this index remains up for the fourth consecutive month, after declining for a year. Activity increases when the index is above the 50 point threshold.

Manufacturing activity in the Chicago area is considered one of the reliable barometers of the American economy because it represents the health record of industrial production in the Midwest, a region that is home to a significant number of automotive and aeronautical factories. especially. General Motors, Ford and Fiat Chrysler US have the majority of their US production sites there.

"Among the five main indicators, new orders were the only category to show an increase over the month, while production recorded the largest decline", falling 5.9 points, the statement said.

As for demand, it "recovered slightly in October, with new orders increasing by 0.2 points, its highest level since November 2018. Production saw the sharpest drop, by 5.9 points.

On the other hand, the situation is deteriorating on the employment front, companies reducing their workforce due to the pandemic, underlines this study.

"The Chicago index is very volatile but other regional surveys in October showed an improvement" in the situation of this sector, said Rubeela Farooqi, analyst for High Frequency Economics, in a note.

However, she warns, "the threat to the manufacturing sector now comes from the increase in cases of (Covid-19) which can disrupt activity, disrupt supply chains and weigh on demand".

The index jumped in September, thanks to the reopening of the economy.

By May, it had fallen to its lowest level since 1982.

afp / rp