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Comerica Bank’s Florida Economic Activity Index increased 0.1 points in September to a level of 115.2.

Comerica Bank's Florida Index Ticks Up

November 28, 2018
By Robert A. Dye, Ph.D., Daniel Sanabria

Comerica Bank’s Florida Economic Activity Index increased 0.1 points in September to a level of 115.2. September’s index reading is 17 points, or 17 percent, above the index cyclical low of 98.5. The index averaged 113.1 in 2017, 1.4 points above the average for all of 2016. August’s index reading was 115.1.

The Comerica Bank Florida Economic Activity Index continued to improve in September. Including upward revisions to historical data, our Florida Index has now increased for six consecutive months. Seven of the nine index components were positive in September. They were nonfarm payrolls, unemployment insurance claims (inverted), housing starts, house prices, industrial electricity demand, total state trade and sales tax revenue. Hotel occupancy, which has trended down in 2018, was the only component to go negative for the month. Total enplanements, which have also trended down since May, went unchanged in September. Some industries, including the seafood industry and farming in the Panhandle, have been profoundly impacted by Hurricane Michael which struck Florida in October. However, in the high level economic data we see only mild weakness in some indicators. The hurricane did not appear to impact the nonfarm payroll numbers for Florida, but the state did see an uptick in initial and continuing claims for unemployment insurance for October. Ongoing economic momentum in the larger regions of Tampa, Miami and Orlando will likely mask issues in the Panhandle. The state economy has a lot of momentum with real GDP growth north of 3 percent since 2017 Q3. Lower prices at the gas pump will support the state’s tourism industry heading into the holiday travel season.

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