NEW YORK - The Chicago Fed Midwest Manufacturing Index soared 1.7% in December to a seasonally adjusted level of 87.4, as all four regional sectors showed improvement, the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago reported Monday.

Nationally, the Federal Reserve Board's industrial production index for manufacturing surged 0.9% in December. Overall manufacturing output in the region gained 8.4% from a year earlier, compared to 4.0% growth in output nationally in that period.

The November report showed a revised flat reading at 85.9, originally reported as a 0.1% increase to 85.8.

The regional machinery sector's output increased 2.5% in the month, following a flat November. Nationally, machinery sector output climbed 1.2% in the month. On a year-over-year basis, machinery output grew 12.1% in the region while rising 3.9% in the nation.

The regional steel sector's output jumped 2.4% in the month, following a 2.1% gain in November. Nationally, steel sector output was up 1.8% in the month. On a year-over-year basis, steel output grew 14.6% in the region while climbing 8.5% in the nation.

The regional auto sector's output increased 1.8% in the month, after a steady November, while national output grew 0.1%. Nationally, auto sector output gained 9.8% from a year ago while the Midwest auto sector's output increased 14.8% year-over-year, according to the Fed.

The regional resource sector's output jumped 0.9% in December, following a 0.8% drop in November. Nationally, resource output rose 0.8% in the month. Compared to December 2010, regional resource output was off 0.4%, while national resource output rose 0.1%. "The food, wood, and chemical subsectors of the regional resource sector increased from November to December, but the paper and nonmetallic subsectors decreased,” the Fed said.

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