Pulse of Commerce Index Dropped 1.7 Percent in January; Compared with Prior Year, the PCI is Down 2.2 Percent
MINNEAPOLIS and LOS ANGELES, Feb. 14, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — The Ceridian-UCLA Pulse of Commerce Index® (PCI®), issued today by the UCLA Anderson School of Management and Ceridian Corporation, fell 1.7 percent in January following the 0.4 percent decrease in December*. January’s data places the PCI 2.2 percent below year-ago levels with essentially no growth in the year-and-a-half since the summer of 2010.
“It seems difficult to square the behavior of the PCI with the evident improvement in a number of economic indicators, most notably the increase in payroll jobs and the decrease in initial claims for unemployment,” said Ed Leamer, chief economist for the Ceridian-UCLA Pulse of Commerce Index and Director of the UCLA Anderson Forecast. “The PCI also seems out-of-sync with Industrial Production and with Real Retail Sales, which continue to grow in a healthy manner while the PCI is stalled out.”
The year-over-year changes in the PCI, however, make it look very accurate – the three-month moving average peaked at 8 percent in July 2010 and has fallen steadily to essentially zero percent in January. “The PCI year-over-year peak in 2010 and the deterioration throughout 2011 have correctly anticipated the same movement of Industrial Production, Total Business Real Inventories, and Real Retail Sales. The weakness in the PCI is suggesting either further weakness in these indicators or a big gain in trucking in February, March and April,” said Leamer.
“Last month we wrote ‘think 2, not 3 percent’ meaning that the PCI was too weak to support a quarterly growth forecast as good as 3 percent. The initial estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis has come in at 2.8 percent, which is within the range of points suggested by the PCI, but had a contribution from inventories equal to 1.9 percent. This is significantly above the roughly zero value expected by the PCI.”
Based on the latest PCI data, the forecast for January Industrial Production is a 0.44 percent decrease when the government estimate is released on February 15.
The complete January report, regional analysis and additional commentary are available at www.ceridianindex.com, by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org or by following the Twitter handle @CeridianIndex. The site offers further detail such as Index graphs and downloadable data, video commentary and sound bites, information on how the data is obtained, and the opportunity to receive updates on the latest information via e-mail and RSS feeds.
*This number reflects the revised seasonal and workday adjustment through 2011q12. For more information about the Revised Seasonal Factors, please see page 13 of the January Ceridian-UCLA Pulse of Commerce Index report. Prior to the adjustment, the December result reported in last month’s report was 0.2 percent increase.
About Ceridian-UCLA Pulse of Commerce Index
The Ceridian-UCLA Pulse of Commerce Index® is based on real-time diesel fuel consumption data for over the road trucking and serves as an indicator of the state and possible future direction of the U.S. economy. By tracking the volume and location of fuel being purchased, the index closely monitors the over the road movement of raw materials, goods-in-process and finished goods to U.S. factories, retailers and consumers. Working with economists at UCLA Anderson School of Management and Charles River Associates, Ceridian provides the Index monthly. Ceridian is a global business services company providing electronic and stored value card payment services and human resources solutions. UCLA Anderson School of Management is perennially ranked among top-tier business schools in the world. Charles River Associates is a leading global consulting firm that offers economic, financial, and business management expertise to organizations around the world.
For additional information on the Ceridian-UCLA Pulse of Commerce Index, please visit www.ceridianindex.com.
SOURCE Ceridian-UCLA Pulse of Commerce Index