Chicago Business Barometer™ Escalated April 2010: The Chicago Purchasing Managers reported the CHICAGO BUSINESS BAROMETER escalated to the highest level since April 2005, marking its seventh month of growth. All Business Activity indexes signaled expansion for the second consecutive month. BUSINESS ACTIVITY: EMPLOYMENT marked a fourth month of growth; PRICES PAID accelerated to the highest level since September 2008; ORDER BACKLOGS and SUPPLIER DELIVERIES neared ten-year highs. BUYING POLICY: Lead times for PRODUCTION MATERIEL shortened while other indexes lengthened.
That certainly corresponds to what I’ve been seeing in my personal fortunes. Note, however, that the increase which is both strong and sustained is not being reflected in declines in comparably sharp declines in unemployment in Chicago which remains near the national average. That would appear to suggest a structural change rather than just a cyclic downturn.
It also supports a point I’ve been making for some time now: the recession is highly regional, even localized. That would in turn suggest that solutions need to be regional or localized as well and a one-size-fits-all federal solution will be at best a poor approach to economic recovery. And if, as some fear, what we’re seeing from the federal government is actually a clout-based approach it would be worse yet.
If we’re going to see a robust, sustained national recovery, resources need to be applied where they’re needed most.