The Chicago Business Barometer, also known as the Chicago Purchasing Manager's Index, is similar to the national ISM Manufacturing indicator but at a regional level and is seen by many as an indicator of the larger US economy. It is a composite diffusion indicator, made up of production, new orders, order backlogs, employment, and supplier deliveries compiled through surveys. Values above 50.0 indicate expanding manufacturing activity.

The latest report for Chicago PMI came in at 55.2, a 3.1 point decrease from last month's 58.3. forecast 57.0.

Here is an excerpt from the press release:

“May’s fall in the MNI Chicago Business Barometer needs to be viewed in the context of the strength seen in the past three months. With the three-month average, broadly stable, it provides a better guide this month to the underlying activity. Still, business activity over the past three months is running significantly above the levels seen during the same time last year,” said Shaily Mittal, senior economist at MNI Indicators. [Source]

Let's take a look at the Chicago PMI since its inception.

Chicago PMI

Here's a closer look at the indicator since 2000.

Chicago PMI since 2000