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Chicago PMI Surprises to the Upside

Today's release of the Chicago PMI for February came in stronger than expected (54.0), rising from 55.6 to 56.8.  This month's reading represented the second straight monthly increase, which hasn't happened since January 2011.  As shown in the lower chart, the two month increase from 50.0 to 56.8 is the largest two-month increase since November 2009.

The table below breaks down the current reading of the Chicago PMI and each of its subcomponents and compares them to their levels last month and last year.  On a positive note, all seven components of the headline index are currently above 50, which is the threshold for growth for the first time since July 2012.  Furthermore, four of the index's subcomponents increased on a month over month basis.  On the downside, it is hard to ignore the fact that all seven components are lower now than they were at this time last year.  At least they are moving in the right direction though!