An obscure economic report may soon take on added significance

The data in many economic reports due out in the coming months are nearly certain to be muddled by hurricane devastation this season. One upcoming report, however, may be able to reflect data untouched by the hurricanes' impact and offer a clearer picture of U.S. economic health.

Next Friday, the Institute for Supply Management is scheduled to release its monthly reading of business conditions for both manufacturing and non-manufacturing firms in the Chicago area, often referred to as the Chicago PMI report, or the purchasing managers' index reading.

Manufacturing data is something Kevin Caron, senior portfolio manager at Washington Crossing Advisors, typically examines. This month's data is likely to take on some "additional importance," he said Thursday on CNBC's "Trading Nation."

"This will focus on the Chicago area, an area of the country that has not been impacted by hurricanes, and might give a better reading as to the health of the underlying manufacturing sector and how it performed in the month of September," Caron said Thursday.

"Investors are going to be very curious about where we go from here, particularly as the Fed has tied their call for higher interest rates and a wind-down in the balance sheet on an expectation that the economy maintains a growth trajectory," he said.

Caron added that, typically, manufacturing data takes on a "special importance every month because it comes out very early, so it gives us one of the earliest indicators of how the manufacturing sector did during the current month."

It is expected that next Friday's reading will come in at 58.2, according to FactSet estimates, which reflects a decline month over month.

Last month's figure came in just above estimates, at 58.9, remaining unchanged on a month-over-month basis.

It is considered that a reading over 50 indicates economic expansion, and a dip below indicates contraction. The last time the index dipped below the 50 mark was in February 2016.

On Friday morning, the "flash" reading of Markit Economics' U.S. PMI, which gives a broader picture of the economy, is set to be released.


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Sara Eisen

Sara Eisen joined CNBC in December 2013 as a correspondent, focusing on the global consumer. She is co-anchor of the 10AM ET hour of CNBC's "Squawk on the Street" (M-F, 9AM-11AM ET), broadcast from Post 9 at the New York Stock Exchange.

In March 2018, Eisen was named co-anchor of CNBC's "Power Lunch" (M-F, 1PM-3PM ET), which broadcasts from CNBC Global Headquarters in Englewood Cliffs, N.J.

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