Pulse of Commerce Index Falls for the Third Month in a Row - Down 1.0 Percent in September

Alarming news for the third quarter and beyond

Oct 12, 2011, 09:00 ET from Ceridian-UCLA Pulse of Commerce Index

MINNEAPOLIS and LOS ANGELES, Oct. 12, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- The Ceridian-UCLA Pulse of Commerce Index®(PCI®), issued today by the UCLA Anderson School of Management and Ceridian Corporation, fell 1.0 percent in September on a seasonally and workday adjusted basis, following a 1.4 percent decline in August and a 0.2 percent decline in July. 

With hopes that September data would be positive, last month we wrote 'Based on the July and August data, the PCI will likely decline in the third quarter and this suggests GDP growth of zero to 1.0 percent.' Ed Leamer, chief economist for the Ceridian-UCLA Pulse of Commerce Index and director of the UCLA Anderson Forecast said, "With the continued weakness in September, the PCI-based forecast for third quarter GDP growth is zero."

Over the past three months, compared to the prior three months, the PCI declined at an annualized rate of 4.3 percent. The rate of decline in the third quarter has been exceeded only in the deep recession of 2008/09, and tied only once outside of recessions, in March 2000.

On a year-over-year basis, the PCI was down 0.2 percent in September. This month, the year-over-year change was below last year for the first time since May 2011, or the second time since January 2010; over the past four months, the year-over-year change has been rapidly declining. "Businesses appear to be unwilling to restock for a potentially vibrant holiday season at the same time as normal and they are planning to ramp up inventories late this year, if and when the sales start to materialize," explained Leamer.

Due to the continued weakness in the PCI, our forecast for September Industrial Production is a 0.55 percent decline when the government estimate is released on October 17.

The complete September 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.

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