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Economy in Brief

State Coincident Indexes
by Charles Steindel  April 25, 2019

The Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank's estimates of state coincident activity show more idiosyncratic than regional variation; in other words, there isn't a simple picture that the West is outstripping the East. Over the 12 months ending in March, Nevada—which has seen the most rapid rate of job growth of any state—registered a 5.2 percent increase in its coincident index. Three eastern states (Delaware, Massachusetts, and West Virginia) filled slots 2 to 4, before another western state (South Dakota) shows up in the rankings. 31 states clocked gains between 2 and 4 percent, while Hawaii was the only one with a drop.

Over the 3 months ending in March Delaware was the leader, with an increase slightly above 1.5 percent (Wisconsin's rise was virtually equal). Nine states—scattered across the nation—saw gains higher than 1 percent in that period, with six clocking declines. Kansas came in last with a plunge of .8 percent. If the range .5 to 1 percent is seen as corresponding to reasonably steady, solid growth, only 19 states were there (Texas is in that group, but California, Florida, and New York were all lower).

As to February-March, there was, as is fairly typical for one-month's growth, a pretty wide range, with Wyoming's .8 percent increase leading. Eight states report declines, with Kansas down a sharp .4 percent.

The Philadelphia indexes are largely reflective of the data state payrolls, average manufacturing hours, unemployment rates, and real wages and salaries. The long-term trend in a state's index is set to match that in the state's real GDP.

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