Comerica Bank’s Michigan Economic Activity Index rose one point in September, to a level of 88. The September index level is 17 points, or 24 percent, above the index cyclical low of 71. Year-to-date the index has averaged 87 points, two points above the average for all of 2010.
“Michigan is benefitting from increasing auto sales and vehicle production. U.S. auto sales increased to a 13.6 million unit rate in November and that is good news for the state,” said Robert Dye, Chief Economist at Comerica Bank. “The climb out of the depths of the recession still looks very uneven though as hard hit areas within Michigan are stuck with very high unemployment rates. Moreover, where we have seen declines in regional unemployment rates, the declines are due not just to job growth, but also due to declines in the labor force, reflecting lower labor force participation rates. Housing markets in Michigan and elsewhere are still a drag to economic growth and will likely be soft through 2012.”