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Comerica Bank’s Florida Index Flattens

December 5, 2017
By Robert A. Dye, Ph.D., Daniel Sanabria

Comerica Bank’s Florida Economic Activity Index was unchanged in September at a level of 113.6. September’s index reading is 15 points, or 15 percent, above the index cyclical low of 98.5. The index averaged 111.6 in 2016,one and nine-tenths points above the average for all of 2015. August’s index reading was 113.6.

The Comerica Bank Florida Economic Activity Index flattened in September. Florida economic activity slowed considerably as Hurricane Irma pounded the state in early September. Non farm payrolls declined by 116,700 in September with major losses in the hotel and restaurant, administrative and waste management, and construction industries. This was reversed in October when payrolls were up 125,300, with most industries making a strong recovery from September losses. The September Florida index components were mostly negative as expected.Three out of nine sub-indexes were positive, including unemployment insurance claims (inverted), house prices and hotel occupancy. Six out of nine sub-indexes were negativefor the month. They were non farm payrolls, housing starts, industrial electricity demand, total state trade,state sales tax revenue and enplanements. While hurricanes can be disasters at the time of the event, the recovery from hurricanes can boost economic activity. We expect Florida to recover quickly from Hurricane Irma. However,the impact of Hurricane Maria on Puerto Rico will be profound and long lasting, with implications for Florida.Those who evacuated Puerto Rico may opt to stay stateside, particularly in Florida, which is experiencing a strong economy. The migration of thousands of Puerto Ricans to Florida will boost demand for housing and support local businesses.

For a PDF version of this report click here: FL_Index_1117

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