Subscribe to our free, weekly email newsletter!


Pulse of Commerce Index is up 1.7 percent in July

By Jeff Berman, Group News Editor
August 12, 2010

While talk of a possible “double-dip recession” gains momentum, results from the most recent Ceridian-UCLA Pulse of Commerce Index (PCI) are doing its part to quell that theory.

July’s PCI was up 1.7 percent, following a 1.9 percent decline in June and a 3.1 percent increase in May. 

The PCI, according to Ceridian and UCLA, is based on an analysis of real-time diesel fuel consumption data from over-the-road trucking and is tracked by Ceridian, a provider of electronic and stored value card payment services. The PCI data is accumulated by analyzing Ceridian’s electronic card payment data that captures the location and volume of diesel fuel being purchased by trucking companies.

The PCI closely tracks the Federal Reserve’s Industrial Production data as well as GDP growth.

“The key takeaway from the July report is that the economy continues to recover – which is encouraging – but the pace needs to substantially pick up to put people back to work,” said Ed Leamer, chief PCI economist, in a statement. “With the unemployment rate still at 9.5 percent and consumers understandably nervous about opening their wallets, it is hard to be very optimistic about economic growth. On the other hand, there is nothing about the PCI that is supportive of the pessimistic double-dip view.”

As LM reported last month, June’s PCI decline was due, in part, to a late Memorial Day holiday leading to a sluggish first half of the month, followed by a strong second half of June. Todd Dooley, senior vice president of finance for Ceridian, told LM that Memorial Day was on the latest date in May it has for the last ten years, coupled with trucking activity around Memorial Day slowing down for about a week to ten days, which negatively impacted June’s results.

July’s PCI, on the other hand, was up 8 percent year-over-year and represents the eighth straight month of mid-to-high single digit growth after two years of declines, according to Ceridian and UCLA. But the report said annual growth of 10-to-15 percent is needed to truly drive an increase in employment.

“The economy continues to grow at a steady rate but not at a rate that is going to put Americans back to work in significant quantities,” said Dooley. “July was a strong month over all. What you are hearing in the marketplace is there a lot of choppiness in the economy, with many people at the end of June saying there would be a double-dip recession. And, now, the Federal Reserve is downgrading outlooks along with being concerned about unemployment. Our position remains unchanged in that we expect 2-to-3 percent GDP type of growth [the U.S. Department of Commerce’s estimate for GDP growth from the first quarter to the second quarter is 2.4 percent] in the second quarter, whereas 5-to-6 percent growth is what is needed to put people back to work.”

As things currently stand, Dooley said the current numbers represent a solid but unspectacular recovery. 

And with evidence of freight volumes slowing down, coupled with a dismal 2009, Dooley said year-over-year comparisons, which showed significant growth in the first half of 2010 are likely to slow down in the second half of the year. But even with a slow and steady recovery—with 2-to-3 percent GDP growth, the eight straight months of growth in the PCI is expected to continue, noted Dooley.

About the Author

Jeff Berman headshot
Jeff Berman
Group News Editor

Jeff Berman is Group News Editor for Logistics Management, Modern Materials Handling, and Supply Chain Management Review. Jeff works and lives in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, where he covers all aspects of the supply chain, logistics, freight transportation, and materials handling sectors on a daily basis. .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


Subscribe to Logistics Management magazine

Subscribe today. It's FREE!
Get timely insider information that you can use to better manage your
entire logistics operation.
Start your FREE subscription today!

Recent Entries

UPS today announced diluted earnings per share of $1.32 for the third quarter 2014, a 13.8% improvement over the prior year period. Operating profit increased 8.3%, resulting from balanced growth across all three segments.

The Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) reported this week that U.S. trade with its North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) partners Canada and Mexico increased 4.4 percent from August 2013 to August 2014 at $100.6 billion.

As expected, global trade dipped from August to September but still saw annual gains, according to data issued this week by Panjiva, an online search engine with detailed information on global suppliers and manufacturers.

Transportation and logistics merger and acquisition (M&A) activity in the third quarter saw annual gains, which were driven by smaller deals in the trucking logistics, shipping, and passenger air sectors, according to data issued in the Intersections report by PwC this week.

With the holidays rapidly approaching, it appears retailers are not quite done getting inventory set up and on the shelves in time for what is expected to be a fairly active shopping season. That much was evident based on recent data for September volumes issued by the Port of Los Angeles (POLA) and the Port of Long Beach (POLB).

Article Topics

News · Trucking · Fuel · Ceridian · UCLA · Pulse of Commerce · All topics

Comments

Post a comment
Commenting is not available in this channel entry.


© Copyright 2013 Peerless Media LLC, a division of EH Publishing, Inc • 111 Speen Street, Ste 200, Framingham, MA 01701 USA