The Chicago purchasing managers’ business barometer rose to a still contractionary 49.1 in May from 48.3 in April, 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.

Economists polled by IFR Markets predicted a 48.5 reading for the indicator.

The prices paid index jumped to 87.5 from 82.9. The employment index increased to 41.2 from 35.3, and the new orders index rose to 56.1 from 53.0. The supplier deliveries index was at 51.0, off from 52.5 last month.

The order backlogs index rose to 46.8 from 39.5 in the prior survey. The production index decreased to 51.5 from 53.0, and inventories fell to 42.2 from 51.9.

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