U.S. Midwest business index jumps in December

By Associated Press
Posted Dec. 30, 2010 at 8:54 a.m.

Business activity in the U.S. Midwest rose unexpectedly in December, with help from a gain in employment and new orders, a report showed Thursday. The Institute for Supply Management-Chicago business barometer jumped to 68.6 in December from 62.5 in November.

Economists had forecast the December reading to dip to 61.0.

The employment component of the index rose to 60.2 from 56.3 in November. New orders rose to 73.6, from 67.2.

A reading above 50 indicates expansion in the regional economy.

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