Comerica Bank's Michigan Economic Activity Index rose three points in February, to a level of 84. February's reading is the highest Index observation since October 2008. February marks a 10 point, or 13.5 percent, year-on-year increase in the Index, the largest 12-month increase since January 2005. The Index for February is up 18 percent compared to its July 2009 cyclical low.
"Following a four point increase in January, our Index continued to surge in February," said Dana Johnson, Chief Economist at Comerica Bank. "February's reading was driven by strong steel production and natural gas sales, with seven out of nine Index components reflecting positive growth overall. Even as the weather effects that likely pushed natural gas sales higher in the early part of the year fade, our Index should continue to trend higher over the course of the year, reflecting an ongoing recovery in Michigan."
The Michigan Economic Activity Index equally weights nine, seasonally-adjusted coincident indicators of real economic activity. These indicators reflect activity in the construction, manufacturing and service sectors as well as job growth and consumer outlays.
The U of M Economic forecast has been revised as well. Instead of the state shedding jobs through next year, they now are predicting growth.
Following an unprecedented 10 consecutive years of shrinking employment, Michigan finally will see job growth next year, according to a new University of Michigan forecast.
The state will gain 20,400 jobs in 2011, U-M economists George Fulton and Joan Crary said Thursday in a revision of their November 2009 forecast.
That's a sharp reversal. They predicted in November that Michigan would shed 16,300 jobs next year.
An improving national economy and stronger auto sales will considerably slow job losses this year, according to the new forecast.
It may be hard to see down here on the ground, but mark your calendars. The recovery starts now.