Comerica Bank’s Michigan Index Improves

Comerica Bank’s Michigan Economic Activity Index increased in March to a level of 118.6.

March’s reading is 21 points, or 21 percent, above the index cyclical low of 97.9. The index averaged 118.1 points for all of 2017, nine-tenths of a point above the index average for 2016. February’s index reading was 118.3.

Comerica Bank’s Michigan Economic Activity Index increased in March after a slight decline in February.

The sub-indexes were mixed, with more up than down for the month. Seven out of nine index components were positive in March including nonfarm employment, unemployment insurance claims (inverted), housing starts, house prices, industrial electricity consumption, auto and light truck production and hotel occupancy. The two negative index components were total state trade and state sales tax revenues. Since March 2017, our Michigan Index has been positive six times, negative four times and moved sideways twice.

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Following the slump in Michigan economic activity in the first half of 2017, steady gains in the state’s economy were supported by consistent job growth from October through March.

However, the preliminary read for April showed Michigan actually lost 10,000 jobs for the month. As we move further past peak auto sales, the pace of hiring in Michigan’s manufacturing sector continues to moderate. Auto production is expected to eventually tick down back to levels seen prior to last year’s hurricanes,  which gave a temporary boost to sales and production. International trade negotiations remain in flux and could exert a significant impact on the Michigan economy, with both winners and losers. The state’s services sector is healthy and will continue to expand this year.

The Michigan Economic Activity Index consists of nine variables, as follows: nonfarm payroll employment, continuing claims for unemployment insurance, housing starts, house price index, industrial electricity sales, auto assemblies, total trade, hotel occupancy and sales tax revenue. All data are seasonally adjusted. Nominal values have been converted to constant dollar values. Index levels are expressed in terms of three-month moving averages.

Comerica Bank, with one of the largest banking center networks in Michigan, is a subsidiary of Comerica Incorporated (NYSE: CMA), a financial services company headquartered in Dallas, Texas, and strategically aligned by three business segments: The Business Bank, The Retail Bank, and Wealth Management. Comerica focuses on relationships, and helping people and businesses be successful. In addition to Michigan and Texas, Comerica Bank locations can be found in Arizona, California, and Florida, with select businesses operating in several other states, as well as in Canada and Mexico.

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