Comerica Bank’s California Economic Activity Index climbed in March, gaining 2.1 points to a level of 104.5. March’s reading is 32 points, or 44 percent, above the index cyclical low of 72.6. The index averaged 101 points for all of 2012, three points above the average for all of 2011. February’s index reading was revised to 102.4.
“Our California Index shows ongoing improvement in economic conditions for the state,” said Robert Dye, Chief Economist at Comerica Bank. “Components of the index were mostly positive for March. Employment, sales tax revenues, unemployment claims and the rig count were positives for March. Exports, hotel occupancy and the Silicon Valley stock index were down for the month. Residential property markets are tightening and house prices continue to improve. Homeowners are building equity in their homes again.”
The California Economic Activity Index consists of eight variables, as follows: nonfarm payrolls, exports, sales tax revenues, hotel occupancy rates, continuing claims for unemployment insurance, building permits, Baker Hughes rotary rig count and the Silicon Valley 150 Index (SV150). 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.