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Comerica Bank’s Michigan Economic Activity Index increased 0.1 percent in March to a level of 117.6.

Comerica Bank's Michigan Index Improves

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

Comerica Bank’s Michigan Economic Activity Index increased 0.1 percent in March to a level of 117.6. March’s reading is 20 points, or 20 percent, above the index cyclical low of 97.9. The index averaged 118.4 points for all of 2018, 0.1 points above the index average for 2017. February’s index reading was 117.5.

Comerica Bank’s Michigan Economic Activity Index increased again in March after breaking a three-month decline in February. Despite the recent two-month gain, the Michigan Index still shows little upward momentum. Over the year ending in March, the Michigan Index is down by 0.8 percent. In March, five out of nine index components were positive. They were nonfarm employment, housing starts, house prices, total state trade, and hotel occupancy. The three negative components were unemployment insurance claims (inverted), industrial electricity demand and light vehicle production. State sales tax revenues were neutral for March. Continuing claims for unemployment insurance in Michigan increased for the three months ending in March. The April data, not included in the March index shows a welcome decrease. The other labor market indicator, nonfarm payrolls, has been positive for the seven consecutive months from last October through April. However, momentum in that series appears to be slowing. For the year ending in March, nonfarm payrolls in Michigan were up by just 0.6 percent. That was the weakest 12-month percent gain this side of the Great Recession. We expect the Michigan economy to keep expanding this year, but at a weak pace, consistent with the flat trend in our Michigan Index.

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

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