Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Ceridian-UCLA: Diesel Fuel index declines in April

by Bill McBride on 5/11/2011 12:02:00 PM

This is the new UCLA Anderson Forecast and Ceridian Corporation index using real-time diesel fuel consumption data: Pulse of Commerce IndexTM

Pulse of Commerce Index Click on graph for larger image in graph gallery.

This graph shows the index since January 2000.

Press Release: Pulse of Commerce Index Falls 0.5 percent in April

The Ceridian-UCLA Pulse of Commerce Index™ (PCI), issued today by the UCLA Anderson School of Management and Ceridian Corporation fell 0.5 percent on a seasonally and workday adjusted basis in April, marking a continuation of the see-saw economic performance experienced over the past twelve months.

“Though down in April, the decline offset only a fraction of the exceptional 2.7 percent gain posted in March, which was sufficient to drive continued growth in the three month moving average of the PCI,” said Ed Leamer, chief PCI economist and director of the UCLA Anderson Forecast. “However, the disappointing 1.8 percent growth of real GDP in the first quarter remained consistent with the pattern of modest, fitful economic growth reflected by the PCI since the first quarter of 2010. The most recent report reinforces our long held cautious, below consensus outlook for growth in GDP and employment.”

“Until we see acceleration in the PCI, we expect monthly employment gains to remain range bound between 150,000 and 200,000 new jobs,” Leamer continued.
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“Over time, the PCI has shown a substantial correlation with industrial production,” explained Craig Manson, senior vice president and Index expert for Ceridian. “... Based on the relatively weak April result, the PCI is calling for growth of 0.25 percent in industrial production when the government reports its number on May 17.”
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The Ceridian-UCLA Pulse of Commerce Index™ is based on real-time diesel fuel consumption data for over the road trucking ...
This index was useful in tracking the slowdown last summer.

Note: This index does appear to track Industrial Production over time (with plenty of noise) and this suggests a weaker reading for April. Industrial Production for April will be released on May 17th.