Florida Economy Down Slightly in February

Comerica Bank’s Florida Economic Activity Index fell one point in February, to a level of 105.  February’s reading is 24 points, or 30 percent, above the index cyclical low of 81.  Year-to-date the index is seven points above the average of 99 for full-year 2011.

“Florida has made slow progress in its recovery from the recession of 2008-2009. Because of the extreme cycle in real estate markets, it will take several more years before the index recaptures its September 2008 index peak. Condo markets are starting to firm up in some areas of the state, but the single-family home market remains depressed,” said Robert Dye, Chief Economist at Comerica Bank. “Tourism activity is picking up and that is helping to stabilize the state. However, cuts in federal spending are already dragging on the Florida economy with the end of the space shuttle program. Also, a weaker global macroeconomic environment poses a downside risk for much of 2012.”

The Florida 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 airline passenger deplanements.  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.

In addition to Boca Raton, East Boca Raton, Fort Lauderdale, Naples, Orlando, Palm Beach Gardens, Singer Island, Sarasota, Stuart, Wellington and Weston, Fla., Comerica locations can be found in its headquarters state of Texas, as well as in Arizona, California and Michigan, with select businesses operating in several other states, as well as in Canada and Mexico.

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