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Economy in Brief

State Coincident Indexes
by Charles Steindel  August 21, 2019

The Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank's estimates of state coincident activity for July show fairly good growth over the past year, but signs of weakness—and greater dispersion in the distribution of growth-- more recently. For a third straight month, the preliminary results show that over the prior 12 months, 32 states had increases in their indexes in the 2 to 4 percent range. No large states were on the high side, but Illinois, New York, and Michigan were under the 2 percent mark—and Michigan reports a small decline over that period. As has been the case with other state figures, Western states were generally stronger than those in the East, though Massachusetts, with a gain just a touch under 4 percent, was the most rapidly growing large state.

Over the three months ending in July, 19 states had gains of less than .5 percent, with 4 seeing outright declines, led by a pronounced .57 percent drop in Michigan. New York and Pennsylvania's gains were meager. 16 states, including Texas, California, and Florida, saw increases of 1 percent or higher, led by Montana's 2.49 percent, was the leader.

For a third straight month Montana had the largest one-month increase in the initial results for July. A total of 12 states saw declines, with drops of more than .2 percent in Delaware, Michigan, and Kentucky.

The upshot from this survey—which, too a great extent, reworks labor market information—is that growth is apparently starting to become less uniform across the nation, with a fair number of states starting to look soft, especially in industrial regions. However, with the data from 3 of the 4 largest states (California, Texas, and Florida) still looking strong (the weakest number from this group is July's .18 percent increase in Texas), the implications for national trends is less clear.

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