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Comerica Bank’s Michigan Economic Activity Index in-creased 0.1 percent in February to a level of 117.5.

Comerica Bank's Michigan Index Inches Up

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

Comerica Bank’s Michigan Economic Activity Index increased 0.1 percent in February to a level of 117.5. February’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. January’s index reading was revised to 117.4.

Comerica Bank’s Michigan Economic Activity Index inched up by 0.1 percent in February, putting the brakes on a three-month slide. Over the year ending in February, the Michigan Index is down by 0.8 percent. Despite the overall gain in February, only three out of nine index components were positive for the month. They were nonfarm employment, housing starts and house prices. The negatives were unemployment insurance claims (inverted), industrial electricity demand, light vehicle production, total state trade, hotel occupancy and state sales tax revenues. The February gain in housing starts was strong after a three-month slide, pushing the overall index barely into positive territory for the month. The February 2019 Michigan Index level of 117.5 was first reached in April 2016. So it is fair to say that the Michigan economy has shown little momentum over the past three years, despite the fact that state-wide payroll employment increased by about 3,600 over that time period. A key drag has been the housing market. Total housing starts in February 2019 were down 19 percent from April 2016. Light vehicle production was also down over that time period, as was industrial electricity demand. U.S. economic data has generally improved in March and April after a winter soft patch and that will help to support the Michigan economy this spring.

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

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