DALLAS, June 1, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Comerica Bank's Texas Economic Activity Index declined slightly in March, down 0.2 percentage points to a level of 91.9. March's reading is 19 points, or 26 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. February's index reading was 92.1.
"Our Texas Economic Activity Index declined again in March, down for 16 out of the last 17 months. Weakness in the index stems from the reset to the Texas oil and gas industry due to very low commodity prices. In recent weeks, we have seen some firming in both crude oil and natural gas prices. If the current price regime is stable, with oil near $50 per barrel, then we would expect drilling rig counts to stabilize this year, and that overall business investment in crude oil and natural gas projects will stabilize, too, by year end. We already see in our Texas Index a slower rate of decline through the first three months of 2016, compared with the second half of 2015. Five out of eight index components were positive for March, including nonfarm employment, exports, unemployment insurance claims (inverted), house prices and state sales tax," said Robert Dye, Chief Economist at Comerica Bank. "Negative index components for March were housing starts, rig count and hotel occupancy."
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.
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SOURCE Comerica Bank