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Economy in Brief

State Coincident Indexes
by Charles Steindel  November 22, 2019

The Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank's estimates of state coincident activity for October show some signs of increasing divergence in activity, with perhaps some more indications of weakness. Over the last 12 months, 30 states report increases in their index in the 2 to 4 percent range, down slightly from September's initial report showing 32 in that range—up slightly from the initial August count of 29 in that range. 4 mid-sized states had growth higher than 4 percent. No state saw a decline (Michigan eked out a minimal increase of one-hundredth of one percent). Texas was the only very large state in the 10 for growth, though California ranked 11th, and Florida 15th (New York was 45th). As has been the case for the labor market indicators, the weaker states (aside from Alaska and Hawaii) have tended to be the mid-part of the nation and Northeast, though in the larger states of the Northeast the figures from Massachusetts and New Jersey have been stronger than those from New York and Pennsylvania. It should be noted that the state coincident index measures rely heavily on labor market information.

Over the three months ending in October a full 20 states had gains of less than .5 percent, with 7 outright declines. While the two largest declines (Delaware and Wyoming) were registered in small states, Pennsylvania was also on the negative side. 10 states had gains above 1 percent in this period, including California and Illinois (both Utah and South Carolina had increases greater than 2 percent).

Utah and South Carolina also led in the one-month gains from September to October, while a substantial 13 states, including New York and Pennsylvania, registered declines. Delaware's drop of more than .5 percent was the largest. Louisiana's index only inched up .03 percent in October, while Alabama's .70 percent gain was third in the nation. Of course, these are October numbers—November's figures should have the impact of LSU's victory over the Tide.

The upshot is that these figures reinforce the impression that the expansion is getting choppier, with a somewhat greater number of states, including some large ones, reporting slower growth.

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