Comerica Bank’s Michigan Index Thaws for Spring

DETROIT — Comerica Bank’s Michigan Economic Activity Index grew in April, increasing 1.9 percentage points to 121.6.

The Michigan Economic Activity Index consists of eight variables — nonfarm payrolls, exports, hotel occupancy rates, continuing claims for unemployment insurance, housing starts, sales tax revenues, home prices, and auto production. All data are seasonally adjusted, converted to constant dollar values, and indexed to a base year of 2008. Index levels are expressed in terms of three-month moving averages.

The index averaged 117.4 points for all of 2014, three and three-tenths points above the index average for 2013. March’s index reading was 119.6.

April’s reading is 48 points, or 64 percent, above the index cyclical low of 74, reached at the bottom of the last recession.

“The Michigan economy is feeling the tailwind of a resurgent U.S. auto industry,” Comerica chief economist Robert Dye said. “Strong auto sales are supportive of the state’s manufacturing sector and are buffering the negative impact of a strong dollar on export-oriented manufacturing. Job creation is on an upward trend in Michigan and real estate markets continue to firm up. Cheaper gasoline is a boost for the state’s summer tourism industry, which will also benefit from more confident consumers who have a little more money to spend this summer.”

Archives of the Comerica Michigan Index are available at http://www.comerica.com/economics.

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