Chicago-area business activity unexpectedly saw faster growth in the month of April, according to a report released by MNI Indicators on Friday.

MNI Indicators said its Chicago business barometer jumped to 72.1 in April from 66.3 in March, with a reading above 50 indicating growth. Economists had expected the index to edge down to 65.3.

With the unexpected increase, the Chicago business barometer reached its highest level since December of 1983.

The advance by the headline index came as the new orders index climbed by 9.9 points to a nearly seven-year high, while the production index up by 0.9 points to its highest level since January of 2018.

MNI Indicators said anecdotal evidence suggests an anticipated increase in business activity, partly because firms are overbuying due to raw material shortages.

The report showed the order backlogs index surged up by 16.2 points to its highest level since December of 1973, as firms are experiencing difficulties in getting certain components and raw materials.

The employment index also rose by 1.7 points to its highest level since August of 2018, remaining in expansion territory for the second straight month.

MNI Indicators said prices paid index also skyrocketed a further 11.1 points in April, surging to a 41-year high, as raw material shortages and transportation problems continue to weigh on companies cost burden.

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