Led by Steel Sector, Midwest Manufacturing Index Reaches New High
The Chicago Fed Midwest Manufacturing Index (CFMMI) reached a record high of 126.9 (1992=100) in December. The index increased 0.8% from November to December, following a strong revised 1.1% increase in November. By comparison, the Federal Reserve Board’s industrial production index for manufacturing (IP-MFG) also set a record high of 131.1 in December, representing a 0.5% increase in December following a 1.2% increase in November. The regional manufacturing index, which has been lagging the nation’s manufacturing growth rate on a year-ago basis for the past eight months, closed the growth differential in December to only 0.1 percentage point. In December, the region expanded at a 6.4% rate compared with the prior year; the nation’s growth was virtually the same at 6.5% over the same period. For 1997 as a whole, the region’s manufacturing output grew by 5.3% over 1996, while the IP-MFG for the nation expanded at a slightly faster 5.6%.