No bottom yet: Key purchasing index falls to lowest level since 1980

Spring is a time of growth and renewal, but so far Chicago-area purchasing managers do not expect growth to resume in U.S. economy this season.

The NAPM-Chicago announced Tuesday that its business index fell to 31.4 in March from 34.2 in February. The NAPM-Chicago index is now at its lowest level since 1980. A Bloomberg News survey had expected the index to fall to 35.0 in March. Readings above 50 indicate expansion; below 50, contraction. Hence, the index remains well below expansion levels -- which is bearish for U.S. stock markets.