Comerica Bank’s Arizona Economic Activity Index fell slightly in March, declining 0.7 percentage points to a level of 103.7. March’s index reading is 32 points, or 45 percent, above the index cyclical low of 71.3. The index averaged 96 points for all of 2013, nine points above the average for full-year 2012. February’s index reading was unchanged at 104.4.
“Our Arizona Index eased in March, breaking a string of four consecutive monthly increases. However, nonfarm payroll employment for Arizona improved in March after decreasing in February. A major contributing factor to the dip in our Arizona Index in March was an increase in continuing claims for unemployment insurance for the month. That increase runs counter to the previously mentioned improvement in payroll jobs in Arizona in March,” said Robert Dye, Chief Economist at Comerica Bank. “We already know that continuing claims for unemployment insurance eased in April. So the March gain in continuing claims looks like an anomaly. We expect the Arizona economy to continue to improve through the second half of this year.”
For a PDF version of the Arizona Economic Activity Index click here: ArizonaIndex_0514.