A stunningly bad economic signal from the Midwest

Friday, February 27, 2015
By Paul Martin

FEB. 27, 2015

There is some bad news from America’s heartland.

Economic activity in the Midwest unexpectedly contracted in February, according to Institute for Supply Management’s latest Chicago Purchasing Managers Index.

This report is somewhat out of touch with recent economic data, which has been modestly disappointing but still suggests the economy is growing at a measured pace.

In its report, ISM said the West Coast port strike and harsh winter weather most likely had a negative impact on manufacturing in February, though it was difficult to gauge the magnitude.

“It’s too early to conclude that February represents a change in the relatively strong trend seen recently,” the report said. “Nonetheless, the weakness in the Barometer points to softer GDP growth over the first quarter than previously expected.”

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