Comerica Bank's Michigan Index Inches Up

DETROIT — Comerica Bank’s Michigan Economic Activity Index grew  0.1 percentage points in January to a level of 130.1.

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. Nominal values have been converted to constant dollar values. Index levels are expressed in terms of three-month moving averages.

“The Comerica Bank Michigan Economic Activity Index increased just slightly in January, and is essentially stagnant at a value of 130 from November through January,” said Comerica Chief Economist Robert Dye. “Index components were about evenly matched in January, with four up and four down. The gainers were nonfarm employment, state exports, home prices and state sales tax revenues. The losers were unemployment insurance claims, housing starts, automobile production and hotel occupancy. Automakers are revving up their plans for reinvestment in the state, which is great news. However, we view this as a force for employment stability, not necessarily for net job growth in the state. Manufacturing employment in Michigan rebounded from 2010 through 2015, supported by rebounding auto sales. However, since early 2016, Michigan manufacturing employment has flat-lined. The surge in U.S. consumer confidence this spring may provide some near term support for auto sales.”

January’s reading is 56 points, or 76 percent, above the index cyclical low of 74.1, reached at the bottom of the last recession in 2007-09.  The index averaged 127.8 points for all of 2016, four and one-fifth points above the index average for 2015. December’s index reading was 130.0.

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