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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 unchangedin September at a level of 113.6. September’sindex reading is 15 points, or 15 percent, above the indexcyclical low of 98.5. The index averaged 111.6 in 2016,one and nine-tenths points above the average for all of2015. August’s index reading was 113.6.

The Comerica Bank Florida Economic Activity Indexflattened in September. Florida economic activity slowedconsiderably as Hurricane Irma pounded the state in earlySeptember. Nonfarm payrolls declined by 116,700 in Septemberwith major losses in the hotel and restaurant, administrativeand waste management, and constructionindustries. This was reversed in October when payrollswere up 125,300, with most industries making a strongrecovery from September losses. The September Floridaindex components were mostly negative as expected.Three out of nine sub-indexes were positive, including unemploymentinsurance claims (inverted), house prices andhotel occupancy. Six out of nine sub-indexes were negativefor the month. They were nonfarm payrolls, housingstarts, industrial electricity demand, total state trade,state sales tax revenue and enplanements. While hurricanescan be disasters at the time of the event, the recoveryfrom hurricanes can boost economic activity. We expectFlorida to recover quickly from Hurricane Irma. However,the impact of Hurricane Maria on Puerto Rico will beprofound and long lasting, with implications for Florida.Those who evacuated Puerto Rico may opt to stay stateside,particularly in Florida, which is experiencing a strongeconomy. The migration of thousands of Puerto Ricans toFlorida will boost demand for housing and support localbusinesses.

For a PDF version of this report click here: FL_Index_1117

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