Arizona Economy Accelerates in February

Comerica Bank’s Arizona Economic Activity Index rose three points in February, to a level of 84. February’s reading is 13 points, or 18 percent, above the index cyclical low of 71.  Year-to-date the index has averaged 83 points, four points above the average for all of 2011.

“The Arizona economy has stabilized after a very painful and protracted recession. Our economic activity index shows that the state economy has improved since bottoming out in 2009, but there is a long way to go before we can say that the state has recovered from the Recession of 2008/09,” said Robert Dye, Chief Economist at Comerica Bank. “A key reason for the hard slide in the Arizona economy, and for the only-limited recovery to date, is the housing market in Maricopa County. In January, the housing component of our index for Arizona was positive, but activity in that sector remains far below the pre-recession high. The good news for the state is that economic indicators are lifting off the bottom and that house prices are slowly firming.”

The Arizona Economic Activity Index consists of seven variables, as follows: nonfarm payrolls, exports, sales tax revenues, hotel occupancy rates, continuing claims for unemployment insurance, building permits, and the Case-Shiller home price index.  All data are seasonally adjusted, as necessary, 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.

Comerica operates 18 full-service banking centers throughout the Phoenix/Scottsdale area.  In addition to Arizona, Comerica locations can be found in its headquarters state of Texas, as well as in California, Florida and Michigan, with select businesses operating in several other states, as well as in Canada and Mexico.

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