DALLAS — Comerica Bank’s Michigan Economic Activity Index grew in August, increasing 0.3 percentage points to reach a level of 127.4.
The 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 and indexed to a base year of 2008. Also, the values are converted to a constant-dollar basis and are expressed in terms of three-month moving averages.
“U.S. auto sales reached a 17.8 million unit rate in August, and then surged to an 18.2 million unit rate in September,” Comerica chief economist Robert Dye said. “Labor relations within the auto industry remain favorable. The United Auto Workers ratified their new contract with Chrysler on October 22. The UAW has reached a preliminary agreement with GM. GM workers are expected to vote on the agreement soon. The UAW’s talks with Ford will begin after the GM agreement is ratified. A negative for the Michigan economy is the strong dollar, which makes U.S. exports more expensive and increases competition with foreign imports in U.S. markets.”
August’s reading is 53 points, or 72 percent, above the index cyclical low of 74, reached at the bottom of the last recession.
The index averaged 117.6 points for all of 2014, three and one-half points above the index average for 2013. July’s index reading was 127.2.
For more information or historical data, visit www.comerica.com/economics.
Comerica Bank, with 214 banking centers in Michigan, is a subsidiary of Comerica Inc. (NYSE: CMA), a financial services company headquartered in Dallas, Texas.