Comerica Bank’s Florida Economic Activity Index rose by 0.4 percent in December to a level of 114.2. December’s index reading is 16 points, or 16 percent, above the index cyclical low of 98.5. The index averaged 113.2 in 2017, one and one-half points above the average for all of 2016. November’s index reading was 113.7.
The Comerica Bank Florida Economic Activity Index improved again in December after turning positive in November. Hurricane Irma was a damper on the Florida economy last fall. Our Florida State Index was flat in September and then dipped in October. However, the recent gains in the index are signaling renewed momentum, which we believe will continue through the first half of 2018. In December, seven out of nine state economic indicators were positive. They were nonfarm employment, housing starts, house prices, industrial electricity demand, total state trade, sales tax revenues and enplanements. Only unemployment insurance claims and hotel occupancy were negatives. The Florida economy is increasingly driven by endogenous growth, that is to say, growth that comes from within the state. However, outside factors are still very important including net migration, the net flow of residents into and out of the state. The official Census Bureau net migration data for Florida shows some loss in net migration during the Great Recession, but it is inconclusive. However, data from the IRS and from Atlas Van Lines show a more volatile pattern. That data shows net migration into Florida surged in 2005 and 2006 before the housing market collapse. It turned negative generally from 2007 through 2010, and then turned positive again after 2010. The migration data from the 2020 census numbers will be very important for grounding the outlook for Florida.
For a PDF version of this report click here: FL_Index_0218.
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