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Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Ceridian-UCLA: Diesel Fuel index increases slightly in November

by Calculated Risk on 12/07/2010 09:00:00 AM

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 new window.

This graph shows the index since January 1999.

This is a new index, and doesn't have much of a track record in real time, although the data suggests the recovery has "stalled" since May.

Press Release: Inventory Movement Up Slightly in November in Still Fragile Market, Reports Latest Ceridian-UCLA Pulse of Commerce Index™

The Ceridian-UCLA Pulse of Commerce Index™ (PCI), a real-time measure of the flow of goods to U.S. factories, retailers, and consumers, grew 0.4 percent in November following three consecutive months of decline. The growth, while positive, is not enough to offset the 0.6 percent decline that the PCI saw the previous month, nor the 2.1 percent decline experienced in the PCI since July. Though on a year-over-year basis the PCI is up, the three month moving average has been declining for four months, suggesting relative weakness within the goods producing segments of the economy.

“While the PCI’s most recent data shows growth, it is not substantial enough to offset the loss from the third quarter,” explained Ed Leamer, chief PCI economist and director of the UCLA Anderson Forecast. “In short, November’s “up” is relative to a low-bar so the growth is only mildly encouraging. The flatness we’re seeing with the latest PCI data reflects inventories in motion which seem to be signaling a weak fourth quarter.”
The Ceridian-UCLA Pulse of Commerce Index™ is based on real-time diesel fuel consumption data for over the road trucking ...
I'm not confident in using this index to forecast GDP growth, although it does appear to track Industrial Production over time (with plenty of noise).