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Pulse of Commerce Index falls 1.4%; ‘sluggish economy’ blamed

"July and August results indicate that the PCI will decline in the third quarter suggesting GDP growth of 0.0 to 1.0 percent," said Ed Leamer, chief economist for the Ceridian-UCLA Pulse of Commerce Index and director of the UCLA Anderson Forecast.

The Trucker News Services

9/13/2011

MINNEAPOLIS and LOS ANGELES — The Ceridian-UCLA Pulse of Commerce Index(PCI), issued today by the UCLA Anderson School of Management and Ceridian Corporation fell 1.4 percent in August on a seasonally and workday adjusted basis, following a 0.2 percent decline in July. 

"July and August results indicate that the PCI will decline in the third quarter suggesting GDP growth of 0.0 to 1.0 percent," said Ed Leamer, chief economist for the Ceridian-UCLA Pulse of Commerce Index and director of the UCLA Anderson Forecast.

"The August number supports the pattern of sluggish economic growth coming out of a recession, which is something that we've seen in the past. What we're experiencing is the 'new normal,' where the U.S. economy will continue to stumble forward until a new growth engine is identified. Essentially, the economy is in need of an innovation burst."

"The PCI continues to prove its value in providing insight into the U.S. economy. While previously being flat, recent, seven-day-average diesel volumes have dropped by 2 percent from July 23 to August 19, excluding the holiday impact. However, the last week of August suggests some improvement."

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On a year-over-year basis, the PCI was up 0.4 percent in August. While the YOY growth trend continues – the PCI has grown on a YOY basis every month since January 2010 except for May 2011 – this is down from the 1.0 percent YOY increase in July. Over the past four months, the YOY increase of the PCI has fallen below 1.0 percent compared to 3.0+ percent in the first four months of the year, further indicating the weakness in the economy.

The weakness in the PCI over the last several months called for a zero percent change in the July Industrial Production – the initial release of 0.9 percent was stronger, although subject to revisions. Due to the continued weakness evident in the PCI, the forecast for August Industrial Production is a 0.26 percent decline when released on September 15.

The complete August report, regional analysis and additional commentary are available at www.ceridianindex.com or by contacting index@ceridian.com. 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.

Kevin Jones of The Trucker staff may be contacted to comment at kevinj@thetrucker.com.

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