Michigan Economy Improves in December

Comerica Bank’s Michigan Economic Activity Index rose two points in December, up to a level of 91.  The December index level is 31 points, or 52 percent, above the index cyclical low of 60. The index averaged 91 points in 2011, seven points above the 84 point average for all of 2010.

“Strong U.S. auto sales, accelerating through the fourth quarter of 2011, and so far into 2012, have been an upside surprise for the Michigan economy. The uptick in our Michigan index for December comes as motor vehicle production ramped up and state exports surged late in the year,” said Robert Dye, Chief Economist at Comerica Bank. “Scheduled motor vehicle production through the first half of 2012 looks very strong, expected to grow at a 10 percent annual rate, and this will help Michigan continue to heal from the brutal downdraft of the Great Recession. With strong support to the state’s manufacturing sector, I expect to see healthy gains in private nonmanufacturing hiring through 2012.”

As of this release, the Michigan Economic Activity Index has been reconfigured to more accurately reflect inflection points in the business cycle.  The revised Michigan Index consists of seven variables, as follows: nonfarm payrolls, exports, sales tax revenues, hotel occupancy rates, continuing claims for unemployment insurance, building permits, and motor vehicle production.  All data are seasonally adjusted, as necessary, and indexed to a base year of 2004. Nominal values have been converted to constant dollar values. Index levels are expressed in terms of three-month moving averages.

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