Today, the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago released December 2015 figures for its Midwest Economy Index (MEI). The MEI is a weighted average of 129 indicators designed to measure non-farm business activity in the Midwest (IL, IN, MI, WI, IA).

The overall MEI moved up to -0.15 in December from -0.20 in November. A negative MEI indicates that the Midwest economy grew at a slower rate in December than would typically be suggested by its historic growth rate.

The relative MEI increased to +0.28 in December from +0.08 in November. The positive relative MEI index value indicates that Midwest economic growth was higher than the growth rate of the national economy.

Michigan and Indiana were the only states to make positive overall contributions to the MEI, led primarily by Michigan’s manufacturing contribution of +0.03 and services contribution of +0.02. Negative manufacturing contributions from Iowa (-0.13), Illinois (-0.07) and Wisconsin (-0.04) had the greatest impact on the overall MEI’s negative value. All states made positive consumer spending contributions.

The following chart illustrates contributions to the MEI by sector for Illinois and the Midwest as a whole.

MEI Sector 012916

The following chart illustrates five-year trend lines for the MEI and Relative MEI indexes. The MEI captures both national and regional factors driving Midwest growth and the relative MEI provides a picture of Midwest growth conditions relative to those of the nation.

MEI 012916

Source: Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago

Please refer to the Chicago Federal Reserve Bank press release for more information.

Chaired by Mayor Rahm Emanuel, World Business Chicago is the public-private partnership leading the Plan for Economic Growth and Jobs in order to drive business development, cultivate talent, and put Chicago at the forefront of the global economy.

WBC’s “Economic Briefs” track indicators from month to month to gauge the strength of several aspects of Chicago’s economy, including unemployment, population, venture capital, job openings and new hires, home sales, tourism, etc. This data provides a clear analytic framework for specific Plan strategies and initiatives. For a summary of these and other economic indicators, refer to WBC’s monthly Chicago By The Numbers


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