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Comerica Bank’s Florida Economic Activity Index increased by 0.1 percent in February to a level of 115.7.



Comerica Bank's Florida Index Improves

May 1, 2019
By Robert A. Dye, Ph.D., Daniel Sanabria

Comerica Bank’s Florida Economic Activity Index increased by 0.1 percent in February to a level of 115.7. February’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. January’s index reading was 115.6.

The Comerica Bank Florida Economic Activity Index increased for the fourth consecutive month in February. The Florida Index has not declined since March 2018. Over the 12 months ending in February the Florida index has increased by 1.1 percent, consistent with weak-to-moderate state GDP growth. While Florida’s recent growth has been steady, it has not been strong compared with 2014 and 2015. In February, six out of nine index components were positive. They were nonfarm employment, unemployment insurance claims (inverted), house prices, total state trade, hotel occupancy and enplanements. Housing starts, industrial electricity demand and state sales tax revenues were negatives for the month. Florida’s housing markets were subdued over the winter. Single-family home sales for the state were unchanged in March 2019 compared with March 2018. The median time to contract increased by 16.7 percent to 49 days over that time period. In addition to flat sales, the inventory of active listings has increased by 9.6 percent over the year, according to FloridaRealtors. Lower mortgage rates will help to support Florida’s home sales this spring, but we do not expect to see a fundamental shift in demand in this very long housing market cycle. Year-over-year growth in construction employment is starting to wind down, consistent with our expectations for cooler state GDP growth this year.

For a PDF version of this report, click here: Comerica Bank’s Florida Index Improves

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