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April 30, 2014 10:00 AM, EDT
Chicago-Area Manufacturing Grows at Fastest Pace Since October
Tim Boyle/Bloomberg News

Business activity in the Chicago area expanded in April at the fastest pace since October, a sign manufacturing will keep supporting the world’s largest economy.

The Institute for Supply Management-Chicago Inc.’s business barometer rose to 63 from 55.9 in March, exceeding all forecasts in a Bloomberg News survey of economists, according to a report April 30. A reading above 50 signals expansion.

Rising demand for durable goods such as automobiles and business equipment is driving gains in manufacturing, which makes up about 12% of the economy. Faster job creation would generate wage growth, accelerating the pace of consumer purchases and resulting in more orders for factories.

The median forecast of 49 economists surveyed by Bloomberg was 57. Estimates ranged from 54 to 60.5.

Chicago is a major center of U.S. manufacturing, which is one of trucking’s largest and most important customers.