Comerica Bank’s Michigan Economic Activity Index in April rose 1.9 percentage points to a level of 121.6, which is 65 percent above the cyclical low of 73.8 hit in July 2009.
The index averaged 117.4 points last year.
“The Michigan economy is feeling the tailwind of a resurgent U.S. auto industry,” said Robert Dye, the bank’s chief economist, in a news release.
“Our index improved in April after plateauing through the early months of 2015. Strong auto sales are supportive of the state’s manufacturing sector and are buffering the negative impact of a strong dollar on export-oriented manufacturing.”
Dye said things look good for future upward movement in the index.
“Job creation is on an upward trend in Michigan and real estate markets continue to firm up,” he said. “Cheaper gasoline is a boost for the state’s summer tourism industry, which will also benefit from more confident consumers, who have a little more money to spend this summer.”
The index consists of eight variables — nonfarm payrolls, exports, hotel occupancy rates, continuing claims for unemployment insurance, housing starts, sales tax revenues, home prices and auto production. All data are seasonally adjusted and indexed to a base year of 2008.