June 25, 2008

State Coincident Indexes

Every month, the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia produces a "State Coincident Index" that allows economists to see how well each of the individual states are doing economically:

The coincident indexes combine four state-level indicators to summarize current economic conditions in a single statistic. The four state-level variables in each coincident index are nonfarm payroll employment, average hours worked in manufacturing, the unemployment rate, and wage and salary disbursements deflated by the consumer price index (U.S. city average). The trend for each state’s index is set to the trend of its gross domestic product (GDP), so long-term growth in the state’s index matches long-term growth in its GDP.

What the graphs below show is a state-by-state analysis of the economy. The first three maps show the month of January for 2005, 2006 and 2007, respectively. (Note that in these maps, a five-point scale is used with dark blue being the best and dark red being the worst.) The last six maps are for the last six months available, December 2007 through May 2008. While the scale has been increased from five points to seven points, the same basic color scheme is still used; i.e., dark blue is the best, dark red is the worst.

As you can see, the American economy has gotten quite bad over the past six months, especially in the Northwest and, to a slightly lesser degree, in the Midwest and South. Some of the states in the Mountain West and Northeast are doing well, with the best state currently being Texas. (I'd be tempted to say that Texas is doing well because of the multiplier effects from higher oil prices, but if that's the case, then why isn't Alaska doing well too?)

HT: Economist's View

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