Comerica Bank’s California Index DeclinesComerica Bank’s California Economic Activity Index decreased by 0.2 points in April to 123.9. April’s reading is 26 points, or 27 percent, above the index cyclical low of 97.7. The index averaged 121.2 points in 2017, two and three-fifths points above the average for all of 2016. March’s reading was revised to 124.1.
Comerica Bank’s California Economic Activity Index ticked down in April. This follows a slowdown in momentum in February and March. The sub-indexes were mixed for April. Five of the eight components were negative for the month including unemployment insurance claims (inverted), housing starts, industrial electricity demand, total state trade and the Dow Jones Tech Stock Index. Two of the eight components were unchanged in April including nonfarm payroll employment and hotel occupancy. There was only one positive component for the month which was house prices. This is not the first time that our California Index has gone negative in recent history. In the past 24 months, the index has declined five times and gone sideways once. However, this is the first time that the loss of momentum appears to be widespread across the sub-indexes. The stalwart for the California economy coming out of the recession was steady job gains. Yet, nonfarm payrolls have added just 86,600 jobs in the first five months of 2018. This is the weakest start to a year in terms of job growth since 2011. There is growing uncertainty surrounding the impact of trade disputes as the U.S. and its major trading partners announce additional tariff and counter-tariff measures. The technology sector is one area where we are seeing that uncertainty play out as stock prices exhibit volatility heading into the summer.
For a PDF version of this article, please click here: California Index June 2018
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