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Economy in Brief

State Coincident Indexes
by Charles Steindel  July 25, 2018

The Philadelphia Federal Reserve’s state coincident indexes show some dispersion in growth across the nation. Since June 2017, comparable to the payroll employment numbers, growth has apparently been most rapid in the West, with New Mexico reporting the strongest gain. California and Texas also had outsized growth. On the weak side, two smaller (economically) energy-producing states, Alaska and West Virginia, were unusually low, as was Michigan (North Dakota’s increase of 2.3% was only moderately less than the national gain of 2.8%).

The sense that there has been some dispersion is magnified in looking at shorter periods. Over the three months ending in June, the index declined in Alaska, Kentucky, and Alabama, while eleven states saw increases of more than 1.25%. The indexes for ten states fell from May to June, while ten states saw increases of more than .5% in that month.

The state coincident indexes are largely based on information from the payroll survey reports. Revisions in the payroll numbers will prompt changes in the coincident indexes, so one should not take away too much from the most recent monthly changes. Moreover, the trends in these indexes are benchmarked to state GDP numbers. As everybody knows, the benchmark revision of the national GDP data will be released on Friday; the associated benchmark revision of the state GDP figures will not appear until November. Thus, there will be a certain inherent inconsistency between the state coincident numbers and GDP over the next few months. Still, the general impression that the expansion is by no means uniform across the nation is likely to remain valid.

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