"But it must be the weather", we are sure, will be the cry of a thousand economists whose meterologist forecasts just got torn up. Chicago PMI just missed expectations by the most in a year and tumbled to its lowest since August as it appears knowing what the weather was like in March did nothing for analysts' ability to comprehend the awful reality of the underlying economy. The business barmoter has been falling since October (pre-weather) but this month saw the employment sub-index collapsed to 50 (from 59.3), prices paid dropped, and new orders tumbled to the lowest since August.
Commenting on the MNI Chicago Report, Philip Uglow, Chief Economist of MNI Indicators said,
“March saw a significant weakening in activity following a five month spell of firm growth. It’s too early to tell, though, if this is the start of a sustained slowdown or just a blip.”
“Panellists, though, were optimistic about the future. Asked about the outlook for demand over the next three months, the majority of businesses said they expected to see a pick-up.” he added.
This 3-sigma miss is below even the worst (lowest) economist estimates and well below chief Punxatawney Joe Lavorgna's 60.0 expectation