The Chicago Purchasing Managers' Business Barometer rose to 51.6 in December from 50.4 in November, the National Association of Purchasing Management-Chicago said Friday.

The data is compiled on a seasonally adjusted basis. An index reading below 50 signals a slowing economy, while a level above 50 suggests expansion.

The production index slipped to 53.8 from 54.7, the new orders index increased to 54.0 from 45.3, the order backlogs dropped to 46.9 from 49.6 in the prior survey and inventories rose to 49.8 from 47.1. The employment index dropped to 45.9 from 55.2; and the supplier deliveries index was at 52.4, down from 57.3 last month. The prices paid index slid to 61.7 from 70.1.

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