The Chicago Fed Midwest manufacturing index climbed 2.6% in July to a seasonally adjusted level of 79.7 after the June report showed an unrevised 0.3% decrease to 77.7, the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago reported yesterday.

This was the first increase in the index in a year and the largest increase since the September 2003 report. The rise was closely linked to the auto sector’s fortunes, as the other CFMMI sub-sectors decreased in July, the Fed said.

Nationally, the Federal Reserve Board’s industrial production index for manufacturing rose 1.1% in July. Overall manufacturing output in the region dropped 22.8% from a year earlier, compared to a 14.3% decline in output nationally in that period.

The regional auto sector’s output surged 16.3% in the month.

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