Subscribe to our free, weekly email newsletter!


Transportation news: Pulse of Commerce Index is down

By Jeff Berman, Group News Editor
May 27, 2010

Despite economic indicators—and anecdotal reports—indicating to a large degree that the economy is showing signs of a rebound, the most recent results of the Ceridian-UCLA Pulse of Commerce Index (PCI) indicate the green economic shoots may not be as advertised.

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.

After beginning the year with a 0.6 percent gain, the PCI dipped 0.7 percent in February and was followed by a 1 percent uptick in March. It was down again in April, falling 0.3 percent. The PCI was up 6.5 percent year-over-year, marking the fifth straight month of increases as “better than normal” levels, according to Ceridian and UCLA.

“The latest PCI numbers are disappointing and cast considerable doubt on the strength of the recovery and the strength of GDP numbers for 2010,” said Ed Leamer, the PCI’s chief economist, in a statement. “The next two months will tell if the first quarter’s healthy consumer spending will help lift the PCI and propel stronger GDP growth for the year.”

And while the PCI is showing annual growth, officials said “expectations in the market for a robust recovery may be too optimistic.

Ceridian Vice President and Index Analyst Craig Manson told LM that April’s 0.3 percent decline can be viewed as a disappointment in some respects, in terms of the health of the economy.

“What it means is that economic growth year-to-date is basically flat,” said Manson. “It is important to point out that compared to last year that we are up. But GDP and the PCI sequentially are flat following a strong December to finish 2009.”

While there is still recovery underway, Manson said these sequential tallies temper the optimism of the recovery regarding the outlook for this quarter and throughout the rest of the year.

Factors driving economic patterns are strong consumer spending in recent weeks, which Manson said is likely to drive growth for inventory re-stocking in the coming months. But in conversations with trucking companies, Manson said the overwhelming message is that conditions are good but not great, indicating it will require more time before a full recovery is intact.

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

Seasonally-adjusted (SA) for-hire truck tonnage in March was up 1.1 percent on the heels of a revised 2.8 percent (from 3.1 percent) February decline, with the SA index at 133.5 (2000=100). This is off 0.3 percent from the all-time high for the SA of 135.8 from January 2015 and is up 5 percent annually.

Intermodal volume was up 8.1 percent annually at 280,016 containers and trailers. This outpaced the week ending April 11 at 270,463 and the week ending April 4 at 271,127. AAR said this tally marks the second highest weekly output it has ever recorded as well as the first time container and trailer traffic was higher than carloads for a one-week period.

Ocean cargo carrier service reliability across the three core East-West trades hit a five-month peak in March with an aggregate on-time performance of 64 percent, according to Carrier Performance Insight, the online schedule reliability tool provided by Drewry Supply Chain Advisors.

The Airforwarders Association, which represents more than 360 companies that move air cargo through the supply chain, today applauded an agreement reached by Congressional leaders to advance legislation giving the President authority to conclude key global trade agreements.

Despite great opportunity for growth, the logistics market in Latin America is lagging behind other emerging markets thanks in part to its notoriety for corruption, violence, poor infrastructure and government bureaucracy.

Article Topics

News · All topics

Comments

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


© Copyright 2015 Peerless Media LLC, a division of EH Publishing, Inc • 111 Speen Street, Ste 200, Framingham, MA 01701 USA