Today, the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago released August 2016 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 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.

The overall MEI improved to -0.04 in August from -0.14 in July. The relative MEI also improved to +0.11 in August from +0.01 in July. A negative MEI and a positive relative MEI index value indicate that the Midwest economy grew at a slower rate in August than would typically be suggested by its historic growth rate and at a rate faster than the growth rate of the national economy, respectively.

By state, Michigan and Illinois made positive overall contributions to the MEI, while Indiana, Wisconsin and Iowa made negative contributions. By sector, overall contributions were positive in services (+0.04) and consumer spending (+0.01) and negative in manufacturing (-0.01) and construction (-0.07).

The following chart illustrates five-year trend lines for the MEI and Relative MEI indexes.

MEI Chart 1

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

By Sector Chart 6

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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