Reflecting decreases by all five major components, MNI Indicators released a report on Friday showing its reading on Chicago-area business activity fell further into contraction in the month of January.
MNI Indicators said its Chicago business barometer tumbled to 42.9 in January from a revised 48.2 in December, with a reading below 50 indicating a contraction in regional business activity.
Economists had expected the business barometer to edge down to 48.8 from the 48.9 originally reported for the previous month.
With the steep drop, MNI Indicators said the Chicago business barometer slumped to its lowest level since December of 2015.
The decrease by the headline index came as the new orders index slid 6.1 points to 41.5 and the production index fell by 3.8 points to 42.7, the lowest level since last July.
The report said the order backlogs index also slipped to a four-year low, while the employment index edged down by 0.2 points to 47.0.
MNI Indicators said prices at the factory gate ticked down by 2.1 points to 56.1, registering a two-month low.