Comerica Bank’s California Index Improves Again

DALLAS, Aug. 23, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Comerica Bank’s California Economic Activity Index increased in June to a level of 116.5….

DALLAS, Aug. 23, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Comerica Bank’s California Economic Activity Index increased in June to a level of 116.5. June’s reading is 25.5 percent above the historical low of 92.8 set in June 2020. The index averaged 107.8 points in 2020, 18.9 points below the average for all of 2019. May’s index reading was revised at 113.9.

Our California Economic Activity Index improved by 2.3 percent in June. The index has been up or unchanged for the last 12 months. In June, six of the sub-indexes increased including nonfarm employment, housing starts, house prices, hotel occupancy, enplanements and state revenues. Three sub-indexes fell for the month. They were unemployment insurance claims (inverted), industrial electricity demand and state total trade. Our California Index saw strong monthly gains through the spring as regional restrictions on business activity moderated. We expect to see further gains in our index in July, reflecting improvement in the state’s labor market. However, California is still well shy of pre-pandemic levels of employment. As of July, the state has recovered just 58 percent of the net jobs lost in the Spring of 2020. In July, the level of unemployed workers remained 590,000 above the February 2020 level. This creates a potential fiscal cliff for California households as special federal unemployment benefits conclude in early-September. The winddown of pandemic related stimulus as a new surge of COVID cases is taking hold pushes back our timeframe for renormalizing consumer and business activity. With widespread vaccine availability, state and local officials and businesses are implementing new mandates to avoid a return to restrictions seen during the winter wave. It is still unclear if these policies will mitigate a further rise in cases over the coming weeks.

The California Economic Activity Index consists of nine variables, as follows: nonfarm payroll employment, continuing claims for unemployment insurance, housing starts, house price index, industrial electricity sales, total trade, hotel occupancy, enplanements and state revenues. All data are seasonally adjusted. 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), a financial services company headquartered in Dallas, Texas, and strategically aligned by three business segments: The Commercial Bank, The Retail Bank, and Wealth Management. Comerica focuses on relationships, and helping people and businesses be successful. In addition to 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. Comerica reported total assets of $88.4 billion at June 30, 2021.

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