Comerica Bank’s California Economic Activity Index increased by 0.1 percent in November to 124.5. November’s reading is 27 points, or 27 percent, above the index cyclical low of 97.7. The index averaged 121.1 points in 2017, 2.5 points above the average for all of 2016. October’s reading was 124.4.
Comerica Bank’s California Economic Activity Index increased in November for the fourth consecutive month. Please note that both housing starts and total trade were estimated for the month of November. The U.S. Census has delayed the release of these data points due to the now-ended federal government shutdown. There were the same number of index components up as were down in November. The four positive components were non-farm employment, unemployment insurance (inverted), total trade and hotel occupancy. The four negative components were housing starts, house prices, industrial electricity demand and the Dow Jones Tech Index. California’s housing sector had a weaker trend in the second half of 2018. California housing starts continue to move back down to 2017 levels following an early year jolt in new construction. Higher mortgage rates and home prices are weighing on housing affordability in California. However, home price growth is moderating in the three major metropolitan areas of L.A., San Diego and San Francisco. Mortgage rates also ticked down in December, which will be a modest support for sales. The precipitous decline in tech stocks from October through December appears to have stabilized. However, downside risk factors are growing in both the global and domestic economy. The rising uncertainty surrounding these risk factors is beginning to chip away at consumer and business confidence in early 2019.
For a PDF version of this report, click here: Comerica Bank’s California Index Improves
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