PHOENIX, April 25, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Comerica Bank Chief Economist Robert A. Dye, Ph.D. today unveiled a new monthly economic index that tracks current trends in the Grand Canyon State's economy, the Comerica Arizona Economic Activity Index. The results of the inaugural Comerica Arizona Economic Activity Index show the Arizona economy ticked up three points in February, to a level of 84. February's reading is 13 points, or 18 percent, above the index cyclical low of 71. Year-to-date the index has averaged 83 points, four points above the average for all of 2011.
"Our inaugural Arizona Economic Activity Index shows both the promise and the struggle of the Arizona economy," said Robert A. Dye, Chief Economist at Comerica Bank. "The state economy is starting to improve as housing markets firm up. But there is a long way to go before Arizona has fully recovered from the devastating recession of 2008-09."
The Arizona Economic Activity Index, to be published monthly and available free online, is calculated from seven equally weighted, seasonally-adjusted indicators of economic activity in the state. These indicators reflect activity in the housing, travel and trade sectors, as well as job growth and consumer outlays.
The driving purpose of the Index's methodology is to reflect overall movement in the Arizona economy, broadly consistent with movements in state real Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Because state real GDP is published only on an annual basis, the Comerica Arizona Economic Activity Index serves as an intervening measure of activity.
"Our new Comerica Arizona Index will be a valuable tool for monitoring emerging trends in statewide economic activity," said Dye. "This index will provide a monthly coincident measure of overall economic activity that will fill in the long gaps between the annual releases of gross state product."
In developing this new index, Dye has computed Comerica Arizona Economic Activity Index levels going back to 2000. Over the 12 year history, the index closely parallels movements in the annual real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) data published by the U.S. Department of Commerce.
"We're very proud of Robert Dye's work as our chief economist, and his new Arizona index is an excellent barometer of our state's economy," said Craig P. Doyle, Comerica Bank's Arizona Market President. "The Comerica Arizona Economic Activity Index should be yet another indispensable tool for our clients, local businesses, public policy leaders and the media."
About the Comerica Arizona Economic Activity Index The Arizona 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 the Case-Shiller home price index. 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.
More specifically, the index utilizes state hotel occupancy as a measure of travel activity. Total exports reflect state-level trade activity. Job growth is represented by state nonfarm payrolls, as well as continuing claims for unemployment insurance. Consumer outlays are expressed in terms of retail sales tax revenues. Housing is captured by the Case-Shiller Home Price Index for the Phoenix MSA, as well as state-level building permits.
To access the Comerica Arizona Economic Activity Index, or any other Comerica Bank Economic Insights publications, visit www.comerica.com/economics.
About Comerica Bank Comerica Bank, among the top 25 largest banks in the U.S., is a subsidiary of Comerica Incorporated (NYSE: CMA), a financial services company strategically aligned by three business segments: the Business Bank, the Retail Bank and Wealth Management. Comerica focuses on relationships and helping people and businesses be successful. Comerica currently operates 18 full-service banking centers throughout the Phoenix-Scottsdale area. In addition to Arizona, Comerica Bank locations can be found in its headquarters state of Texas, as well as in California, Florida and Michigan, with select businesses operating in several other states, as well as in Canada and Mexico. To receive e-mail alerts of breaking Comerica news, go to www.comerica.com/newsalerts.