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

Panjiva, an online search engine with detailed information on global suppliers and manufacturers, recently said it is opening up the “vault,” so to speak. The vault in this case is making its copious amount of trade data accessible through an Application Programming Interface (API), which enables customers to extract Panjiva’s trade data into their own database.

Freight transportation and logistics services provider Averitt Express recently announced it has rolled out improved transit times for less-than-truckload (LTL) service from the Midwest to Toronto and other cities.

Data issued by the National Retail Federation lowered its 2014 retail sales forecast, due to a slow first six months of the year (and largely negatively influenced by the terrible winter weather), but noted that retail sales are expected to be strong over the next five months to finish the year.

Anne Ferro, a ferocious advocate for greater truck safety and a constant thorn to truck drivers and some unsafe trucking fleets, says she is leaving as administrator of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. No successor has been immediately named.

Data issued by the National Retail Federation lowered its 2014 retail sales forecast, due to a slow first six months of the year (and largely negatively influenced by the terrible winter weather), but noted that retail sales are expected to be strong over the next five months to finish the year.

Article Topics

News · 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