Comerica Bank’s Florida Economic Activity Index increased by 0.1 percent in December to a level of 115.4. December’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. November’s index reading was 115.3.
The Comerica Bank Florida Economic Activity Index saw another modest increase in December after increasing in November. The Florida Index components were mixed in December. Five out of nine index components improved including nonfarm employment, housing starts, house prices, sales tax revenues and total enplanements. The four negative components for the month were unemployment insurance claims (inverted), industrial electricity demand, total trade and hotel occupancy. Our Florida Index continues to see steady growth and has not posted a negative month since October 2017. Job growth continues to drive our Florida Index higher. The state added 231,200 jobs in 2018. This was a strong acceleration from the 163,900 jobs added in 2017. The low cost structure for living and conducting business continues to draw more people and businesses into the state. However, state housing data weakened at the end of 2018. According to Florida Realtors, Florida single-family home sales were down 9.9 percent, and condo sales were down 11.4 percent year-over-year in December. We expect this trend to turn positive as strong net in-migration and job growth support Florida’s housing markets in 2019. The recent announcement that Amazon will not set up HQ2 in Long Island City has some regional officials trying to reopen lines of communication with the company. Miami was one of 20 finalists for HQ2 last fall.
For a PDF version of this report, click here: Comerica Bank’s Florida Index Inches Up
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