Comerica Bank’s Michigan index unchanged

DETROIT — Comerica Bank’s Michigan Economic Activity Index was unchanged in September at a level of 118.1. The flat reading follows three straight months of declines.

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

All data are seasonally adjusted and converted to constant dollar values, and the index is expressed as a three-month moving average.

Bank officials said five index components were positive in Septemer — nonfarm employment, unemployment insurance claims, housing starts, house prices, and auto production. In negative territory were industrial electricity demand, hotel occupancy, and state sales tax revenue. Total state trade was unchanged.

Comerica officials said that while job growth remains strong, it’s expected to tail off in late 2018 and early 2019. State job growth and auto production will also both be challenged by Gemeral Motors’ announcement of the shutdown of the Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant and the Warren transmission plant.

September’s reading is 20 points, or 21 percent, above the index cyclical low of 97.9, reached at the bottom of the last recession in 2007-09. The index averaged 118.2 points for all of 2017, one point above the index average for 2016. August’s index reading was 118.1.

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