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Comerica Bank’s Florida Economic Activity Index increased by 0.2 percent in January to a level of 115.6...

Comerica Bank’s Florida Index Moves Up

March 29, 2019
By Robert A. Dye, Ph.D., Daniel Sanabria

Comerica Bank’s Florida Economic Activity Index increased by 0.2 percent in January to a level of 115.6. January’s index reading is 17 points, or 17 percent, above the index cyclical low of 98.5. The index averaged 114.8 in 2018, 1.7 points above the average for all of 2017. December’s index reading was 115.4.

The Comerica Bank Florida Economic Activity Index increased for the eighth consecutive month in January. The Florida Index components were generally positive in January. Seven of nine index components improved for the month including nonfarm employment, housing starts, house prices, state total trade, hotel occupancy, sales tax revenues and total enplanements. The two negative components for the month were unemployment insurance claims (inverted) and industrial electricity demand. Florida job growth was fairly strong in 2018. This helped to push the state’s unemployment rate down to a very low 3.3 percent in December. The unemployment rate has since ticked up to 3.5 percent in February. This is consistent with the slight increase in Florida unemployment insurance claims in recent months. However, unemployment insurance claims remain near historical lows, so we still see ongoing strength in state’s labor market in 2019. Another source of strength is the state’s housing market. New home construction climbed from September 2018 through January. According to the Case-Shiller Home Price Index, Miami home prices were up 4.8 percent in the 12 months ending in January. Year-over-year home prices for Tampa have moderated from a recent high of 7.5 percent in March 2018 to 5 percent in January. We expect the Florida economy to continue its moderate expansion this year.

For a PDF version, of this report click here: Comerica Bank's Florida Economic Activity Index.

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