Comerica Bank’s Michigan Economic Activity Index improved 0.8 percentage points in March to a level of 130.4. March’s reading is 56 points, or 76 percent, above the index cyclical low of 74.1. The index averaged 127.8 points for all of 2016, four and one-fifth points above the index average for 2015. February’s index reading was 129.6.
“The Comerica Bank Michigan Economic Activity Index increased modestly in March after declining in February. We believe that the Michigan Index will continue to show a modest upward trajectory for the remainder of this year, but growth in the Michigan economy will likely be inconsistent. We have not seen three consecutive monthly gains in the Michigan Index since the summer of 2015. In March, 6 out of 8 index components were positive, including nonfarm payrolls, state exports, unemployment insurance claims (inverted), house prices, sales tax revenue and hotel occupancy. The housing starts and auto production sub-indexes both eased in March. We look for flat auto production this year as sales ease a bit after last year’s record pace,” said Robert Dye, Chief Economist at Comerica Bank. “House prices in Detroit gained 7.0 percent in March over the previous year according the Case-Shiller data.”
For a PDF version of the Michigan Economic Activity Index click here: Michigan_Index_0517.