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Comerica Bank's Michigan Economic Activity Index ticked up in October to a level of 118.9.

Comerica Bank's Michigan Index Ticks Up

January 3, 2019
By Robert A. Dye, Ph.D., Daniel Sanabria

Comerica Bank’s Michigan Economic Activity Index ticked up in October to a level of 118.9. October’s reading is 21 points, or 21 percent, above the index cyclical low of 97.9. The index averaged 118.2 points for all of 2017, one point above the index average for 2016. September’s index reading was 118.1.

Comerica Bank’s Michigan Economic Activity Index increased in October, reversing a slide that started in June. Seven out of nine sub-indexes were positive in October. There were nonfarm payrolls, unemployment insurance claims (inverted), housing starts, house prices, industrial electricity demand, auto and light truck production and hotel occupancy. Total state trade and sales tax revenues were negatives in October. The U.S.-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement was signed by the leaders of the three countries in Buenos Aires on November 30. This will reduce some uncertainty for Michigan businesses, However, the new trade deal must still be ratified legislatively by the three countries. Even with a clearer line of sight regarding trade deals, exporting businesses may soon feel softer demand from their international buyers. China and Europe are both showing signs of cooler growth heading into 2019. Another major automobile company has announced plant closures and layoffs. After GM’s announcement, Tata Motors (parent company of Land Rover and Jaguar) announced closures and layoffs in the U.K. and in India.  This does not impact Michigan directly but it does show the unsettled nature of the global auto industry. U.S. auto sales have held up well, averaging a 17.5 million unit annual rate from September through November.

For a PDF version of this report, click here:  Comerica Bank's Michigan Index Ticks Up

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