Comerica Bank’s Michigan Index Improves

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

The index is comprised of nine variables — nonfarm payroll employment, continuing claims for unemployment insurance, housing starts, a house price index, industrial electric sales, auto assemblies, total trade, hotel occupancy, and sales tax revenue.

All data are seasonally adjusted and converted to constant-dollar values. The index also represents a three-month moving average.

Bank officials said seven out of nine index components rose for the month, with the only negative components being total state trade and state sales tax revenue.

March’s increase came on the heels of a February decline. Bank economists said that as auto sales continue their flat or slightly declining pace, hiring in Michigan’s manufacturing sector continues to moderate. The state’s services sector and will continue to expand this year. International trade negotiations could exert a significant impact on the Michgian economy as well.

March’s reading is 21 points above the index cyclical low of 97.9, hit at the bottom of the last recession, which stretched from late 2007 to early 2009. 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.

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