State's economic activity index at highest level since 2005

Posted on July 24, 2012

Comerica Bank’s Michigan Economic Activity Index jumped 1.9 points in May to 103.9, its highest level since January 2005 and 44 points, or 73 percent, above the cyclical low of 59.9 hit in 2009, during the depth of the recent recession.

The index has averaged 102 this year, 11 points above the average last year.

“The economic recovery of Michigan is broadening, pushing our Michigan Economic Activity Index back up in May after a slight dip in April,” said Robert Dye, the bank’s chief economist.

“The rate of job creation has slowed in recent months as U.S. auto sales have plateaued around a 14 million-unit annual-sales rate in 2012,” he said. “But outside of durable-goods manufacturing, we are seeing ongoing gains. Housing markets statewide are improving as sales, prices and the rate of new construction all increase.”

The index consists of seven variables — nonfarm payrolls, exports, sales-tax revenues, hotel occupancy rates, continuing claims for unemployment insurance, building permits and motor vehicle production — that are seasonally adjusted and indexed to the base year of 2004.

By: Tom Henderson, Crain’s Detroit