Tags: UCLA | Pulse | Diesel | Index

UCLA Pulse: Diesel Index Inches Higher

Wednesday, 14 Mar 2012 01:07 PM

The Ceridian-UCLA Pulse of Commerce Index (PCI), a real-time measure of the flow of goods to U.S. factories, retailers and consumers, rose 0.7 percent in February but was not enough to offset the 1.7 percent decline in the previous month.

The most recent three-month period from December to February is lower than the previous three months from September to November 2011 by 3.2 percent at an annualized rate.

The Ceridian-UCLA Pulse of Commerce Index, issued by the UCLA Anderson School of Management and Ceridian Corp., is based on real-time diesel-fuel consumption data for over-the-road trucking and serves as an indicator of the state and possible future direction of the U.S. economy.

By tracking the volume and location of fuel being purchased, the index closely monitors the over the road movement of raw materials, goods-in-process and finished goods to U.S. factories, retailers and consumers.

With the first two months of the quarter known, the PCI must grow by over 4 percent from February to March to allow the PCI to grow positively in the first quarter of 2012 compared with the last quarter of 2011.

“The continuing weakness of the PCI is signaling that, perhaps, the recovery in home building has not yet taken hold," said Ed Leamer, chief economist for the Ceridian-UCLA Pulse of Commerce Index and Director of the UCLA Anderson Forecast.

"The recent improvement in building permits and housing starts may get building going again and therefore, trucking as well, as it has been said that it takes 17 truckloads to build a home. If we get the saws and hammers going again, we will have a real recovery with much healthier job growth,” he said.

The year-over-year growth in the PCI since May of 2011 has been wobbling slightly above zero. In December 2011, the year-over-year growth turned decidedly negative at -0.8 percent with January 2012 even worse at -2.2 percent; February year-over-year was only slightly negative at -0.2 percent.


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Wednesday, 14 Mar 2012 01:07 PM
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