The Chicago Business Barometer held close to a 7-month high in December, the Institute for Supply Management said Thursday. With numbers above 50 indicating expansion, the Chicago association\'s headline business barometer for December, compiled by Kingsbury International Ltd., slipped from November\'s 60.3 to 58.8 in December. November marked the 27th month of expansion for manufacturing activity in the area. The indexes for production and new orders also \"edged off November\'s 7-month and 8-month highs, respectively, the report said. The production index slipped from 63.5 to 60.5. The new orders index throttled back from 66.5 to 61.5. The employment index rose in the month from 55 to 60.5.