The Chicago Purchasing Managers' Business Barometer rose to 57.6 in November from 50.6 in October, the National Association of Purchasing Management-Chicago said Wednesday.
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.
Economists polled by Thomson Reuters predicted a 52.2 reading for the index.
"The rise in New Orders contributed the most to the increase in the Barometer, increasing 10.7 points to 63.2 in November. Production also rose, regaining virtually all of October's fall. Order Backlogs jumped out of contractionary territory, where it had been over the past three months, while Supplier Deliveries saw a smaller rise. Despite higher orders and output, demand for labor fell. Employment slipped back into contraction, making last month's recovery short-lived," according to the release.