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Economy in Brief

State Coincident Indexes in May
by Charles Steindel  June 26, 2020

The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia's state coincident index map is again completely red- all 50 states saw drops of least 1 percent from February to May. The smallest drop in this period was Arizona's 4.9 percent; Hawaii plunged a staggering 53.9 percent.

April-May, of course, was another story, as was foreshadowed by the labor market data. 33 states had gains, with Kentucky's 16.1 percent topping the list. Still, 17 states continued to slide in May, with Delaware down a woeful 9.8 percent. As was the case for the labor market results, one can't generalize and say that states that reopened early did noticeably better; buttoned-down New Jersey recorded a larger increase in May than Texas and Florida. To throw more cold water on the May pickup, California and New York were down from April. Texas was the only one of the big 4 states to see a gain, and its 1 percent figure was far from Texas-sized.

The discrepancy between the state results and the national figure, compiled using the same data and methodology, continued in May. The national increase from April to May is reported to have been 2.5 percent, which certainly seems unusual given that none of the 4 largest states were anywhere close to that. Of other large states, only Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania had gains in excess of 2.5 percent (Pennsylania was up 7.5 percent), but the sum of those 3 states' nominal GDP is far less than California's. One would think they are quite inadequate counterweights to the weakness in the very largest states.

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