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Economy in Brief

State Coincident Indexes
by Charles Steindel  May 23, 2019

The Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank's estimates of state coincident activity again show that growth is less intensely centered in the West. Over the 12 months ending in March, Nevada is once again the leader, with a striking 5.4% rise, but West Virginia, with a 5.2% gain, was not far behind, and one large eastern state (Massachusetts) was third. Thirty states—including those with the four largest economies (California, Texas, New York, and Florida)—saw gains between 2 and 4%, roughly within one point of the national increase of 3.1%. Once again, Hawaii was the only state to see a decline, while Louisiana was the only other state with an increase of less than 1 percent.

Nevada was also the top-growing state over the 3 months ending in April, with an increase of 1.9%, though Vermont was virtually equal at 1.8% (before rounding the two were even closer). Fourteen states report gains above 1%, which is a hefty increase in such a short time span. None of the big 4, though, was in this group (Pennsylvania was the largest member). Hawaii, Kansas, Michigan, and Minnesota saw declines in their indexes over this period. Twenty states, including the four largest, had gains in the rand of .5 to 1 percent, which arguable correspondes to reasonably steady growth.

West Virginia's remarkable March-April increase of 1% led the nation, followed by Nevada's .9%. increase. Six states had declines, none appearing to be of any marked degree (Michigan's -.2% was the lowest).

In sum, the Philadelphia Fed measures show growth is widespread across the nation. The indexes are largely reflective of the data on state payrolls, average manufacturing hours, unemployment rates, and real wages and salaries. The long-term trend of a state's index is set to match that of its real GDP.

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