DALLAS, April 24, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Comerica Bank's Texas Economic Activity Index rose two points in February, to a level of 96. February's reading is 24 points, or 33 percent, above the index cyclical low of 72. February marks the highest index reading since October 2008. Year-to-date the index is up five points from the 2011 full-year average of 90.
"The Texas economy continues to grow at a robust pace in early 2012 as shown in our Texas Economic Activity Index. Job creation has been strong, fueled not only by gains in the energy sector, but also by expansion in manufacturing and services. The Texas unemployment rate at 7.0 percent in March remains well below the U.S. rate of 8.2 percent," said Robert Dye, Chief Economist at Comerica Bank. "There are still significant risk factors to watch out for, including very low natural gas prices which are weighing on drilling activity for natural gas, but I expect the Texas economy to remain strong in 2012."
The Texas 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 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 the commercial banking subsidiary of Comerica Incorporated (NYSE: CMA), the largest U.S. banking company 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 Dallas/Fort Worth, Houston, Austin and the San Antonio region 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.