Comerica economic report says Detroit area generally on the up … and up

Posted on February 19, 2013

Comerica Bank predicts modest economic growth for the metropolitan Detroit statistical area in a report released Tuesday, projecting employment increases in each quarter this year and generally improving numbers in other areas.

The bank projected job growth of 0.3 percent this quarter, 0.5 percent in the second, 0.5 percent in the third and 0.6 percent in the fourth quarter, compared with a decline of 2.9 percent in the fourth quarter last year.

Unemployment in the region is expected to fall from 10.8 percent at the end of last year to 10.3 percent at the end of this year.

Personal income is projected to drop by 2 percent in the first quarter, then rise in subsequent quarters by 3.6 percent, 4.5 percent and 4.6 percent.

Housing starts are projected to fall by 5.4 percent this quarter, then rebound in the next three quarters by 3.8 percent, 5.5 percent and 7.3 percent.

“The Detroit area has suffered with some of the highest foreclosure rates in the country since 2007. This had a very depressive effect on house prices,” the report said. “Now, as the percentage of distressed properties in the mix of home sales declines, area house price indexes will continue to show strong gains.

“Construction of new homes is also increasing in the metro area. This will help to stabilize labor costs as housing-related employment increases.”

Business bankruptcies are expected to decline all year, by 16.6 percent this quarter, 15.1 percent in the second quarter, 6.7 percent in the third quarter and 5 percent in the fourth quarter. Personal bankruptcies will fall 12.7 percent, 11.1 percent, 9 percent and 8 percent for quarters one through four.

Tom Henderson, Crain’s Detroit.