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STILL IN UPDRAFT, DETROIT ECONOMY HITS NEW PEAK

 DETROIT, April 20 /PRNewswire/ -- The Detroit Area Business Activity Index (DABAI) compiled by Comerica Bank hit a level of 160 in March, a two-point gain over February and a robust 12.4 percent over March a year ago. At 160, the local economic index now exceeds the prior peak of 159 attained in December 1988.
 "It has been four-and-a-quarter years since we've taken any new economic ground around here," said David L. Littmann, first vice president and senior economist with Comerica Bank in Detroit.
 "In March, after removing the inflation factors, a two-point gain in the automotive sector sufficed to push the overall index to its all-time peak. Electric power consumption rose along with the financial and employment series, but steel output declined, thereby offsetting gains in the non-automotive components of the index."
 Littmann observed that strength in the local area economy accounts for the two-and-a-half percentage points of decline in the metro Detroit unemployment rate between February 1992 and February 1993. Employment has risen by 3.25 percent over that 12-month period.
 Comerica Bank compiles the Detroit Area Business Activity Index monthly from eight different measures of regional activity which are seasonally adjusted, corrected for inflation and expressed as an index with 1982 as base year equal to 100. The Economics Department of Comerica Bank has calculated the DABAI monthly since 1957, depicting metro-Detroit's economy over seven full swings of the U.S. business cycle.
 -0- 4/20/93
 /CONTACT: David L. Littmann, First Vice President & Senior Economist, Comerica Bank, 313-222-7241/
 (CMA)


CO: Comerica Bank ST: Michigan IN: FIN SU: ECO

ML -- DE007 -- 7860 04/20/93 09:34 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Apr 20, 1993
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