The Chicago Business Barometer declined to 65.7 in January from a revised 67.8 in December.
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.
IFR Markets predicted a 64.1 reading for the index.
“Despite losing some ground in January, the Barometer continued in the same vein to the form displayed in the second half of 2017, making for an encouraging start to the New Year,” according to a release, “The Barometer was up 28.3% on last January and at 65.7, stands above the H2 2017 average of 63.7.”
“Three of the five components that comprise the Barometer fell on the month, with only Employment and Supplier Deliveries notching up gains in January,” the release noted. “Firms reported a moderately slower pace of both incoming orders and output in January.”
Responding to a special question on tax, 63.5% said their business as well as the wider economy would benefit, while 11.5% said it would help them, but maybe not the country.