Comerica Bank Michigan Index ticks up in January

DETROIT—Comerica Bank’s Michigan Economic Activity Index rose in January to 118, from 117.7 in December.

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

All data are seasonally adjusted, converted to constant dollars, and expressed as a three-month moving average.

Bank officials said eight of the nine components were positive for the month, the best performance since February 2016. They were nonfarm payrolls, unemployment insurance claims, housing starts, house prices, industrial electric demand, auto assemblies, and state sales tax revenue. Only the hotel occupancy index declined for the month.

Bank officials noted the figures predate the coronavirus pandemic, which will cause a sharp decline in employment and business activity that will show up beginning with the figures for March.

January’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 117.7 points for all of 2019, 0.9 percent below the index average for 2018.

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