Michigan Index Gains in February

DETROIT (WWJ) — Comerica Bank’s Michigan Economic Activity Index increased in February, up 0.1 points to a level of 117.8.

The February index reading is 47 points, or 66 percent, above the index cyclical low of 70.9.

The index averaged 114 for all of 2012, 11 points above the index average for full-year 2011.

January’s index reading was sharply revised up from 101.1 to 117.7.

“Our Michigan Index shows a gradual improving trend from late 2012 into early 2013, indicating that the Michigan economy is continuing to strengthen,: said Comerica Bank chief economist Robert Dye. “The index components were mixed for February, with payrolls, state sales taxes, hotel occupancy and motor vehicle production stronger. Exports, unemployment insurance claims and residential building permits were weaker. U.S. auto sales have flattened out through early 2013 as households react cautiously to fiscal tightening. I expect to see auto sales moderately increase through the year, bolstered by improving conditions for residential real estate. Positive signals from commercial real estate markets are good news for western Michigan manufacturers.”

The Michigan 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 motor vehicle production.  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.

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