DALLAS, April 27, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Comerica Bank's Texas Economic Activity Index fell in February, decreasing 0.1 percentage points to a level of 92.4. February's reading is 20 points, or 27 percent, above the index cyclical low of 72.8. The index averaged 97.7 points for all of 2015, seven and three-fifths points below the average for full-year 2014. January's index reading was 92.5.
"Our Texas Economic Activity Index declined in February, down for 15 out of the last 16 months. Four of the eight index components were positive for the month, including nonfarm employment, exports, unemployment insurance claims (inverted) and house prices. Housing starts, drilling rig count, sales tax revenue and hotel occupancy were negative factors. With oil prices firming, we expect to see the drilling rig count level out by the end of summer, so that major drag will start to dissipate. However, the state's large energy sector will likely remain subdued through the course of this year," said Robert Dye, Chief Economist at Comerica Bank. "Both Austin and North Texas will drive growth for the state in the near term, propelled by their ability to attract and incubate new non-energy businesses."
The Texas Economic Activity Index consists of eight variables, as follows: nonfarm payrolls, exports, hotel occupancy rates, continuing claims for unemployment insurance, housing starts, sales tax revenues, home prices, and the Baker Hughes rotary rig count. 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.
Comerica Bank is a subsidiary of Comerica Incorporated (NYSE: CMA), the largest U.S. commercial bank headquartered in Texas, 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. In addition to 131 banking centers in Dallas/Fort Worth, Houston, Austin, San Antonio and Kerrville regions of Texas, Comerica Bank locations can be found in Arizona, California, Florida and Michigan, with select businesses operating in several other states, as well as in Canada and Mexico.