Comerica Bank’s Florida Economic Activity Index increased by 0.8 percentage points in March to a level of 165.8. March’s index reading is 88 points, or 112 percent, above the index cyclical low of 78.1. The index averaged 155.3 in 2016, seventeen and one-tenth points above the average for all of 2015. February’s index reading was 165.0.
“The Comerica Bank Florida Economic Activity Index climbed for the seventh consecutive month in March. Five index components were positive for the month, including nonfarm payrolls, unemployment insurance claims (inverted), housing starts, house prices and hotel occupancy. Negatives in March were state exports, sales tax revenues and enplanements. The value of the dollar has eased against many currencies this year, removing some of the exchange rate headwind for foreign tourists. Still, the dollar remains strong compared with 2013/14 levels making Florida a pricier destination for international travelers. We expect the U.S. economy to gain momentum this year after a slow start in the first quarter, and this will support domestic tourism to the Sunshine State,” said Robert Dye, Chief Economist at Comerica Bank. “Recently, house price gains in Tampa have cooled after a strong 2016. We expect strong demand to keep Tampa area house prices firm this year.”
For a PDF version of the Florida Economic Activity Index click here: Florida_Index_0517.