DETROIT — Comerica Bank’s Michigan Economic Activity Index improved in February, increasing 0.5 percentage points to a level of 127.0.
The Michigan Economic Activity 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.
“Our Michigan Economic Activity Index increased in February after dipping in January,” said Comerca Bank Chief Economist Robert Dye. “Six out of eight index components were positive in February, including nonfarm employment, exports, housing starts, house prices, auto production and hotel occupancy. Only unemployment insurance claims (inverted) and state sales tax revenues were drags in February. With the domestic auto sector near its cyclical peak and international demand for Michigan’s exports soft, the Michigan economy is in a new phase, where growth will be driven by non-manufacturing industries. Steady gains in non-manufacturing employment and improving real estate conditions will be the hallmarks of the Michigan economy for the remainder of the year.”
February’s reading is 53 points, or 71 percent, above the cyclical low of 74 hit at the bottom of the 2007-09 recession. The index averaged 124.4 points for all of 2015, seven points above the index average for 2014. January’s index reading was 126.4.
Comerica Bank, with 213 banking centers in Michigan, is a subsidiary of Comerica Inc. (NYSE: CMA), a financial services company headquartered in Dallas, Texas.