MINNEAPOLIS and LOS ANGELES, April 12, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- The Ceridian-UCLA Pulse of Commerce Index™ (PCI), a real-time measure of the flow of goods to U.S. factories, retailers and consumers, rose 2.7% on a seasonally and workday adjusted basis in March, more than offsetting the 0.3% decline in January and the 1.5% decline in February. On a quarter over quarter basis, the PCI is up 3.9% at an annualized rate, a welcome acceleration from the relatively weak growth of the PCI experienced in the second half of 2010.
"The PCI growth of 3.9% for the first quarter of 2011 is a middle-of the-road number, signaling that we are not in either one of the extremes. In other words, the recession is over, but we are not yet experiencing a robust recovery," said Ed Leamer, chief PCI economist and director of the UCLA Anderson Forecast. "This means that for the coming quarter, the PCI is expecting GDP growth close to historically normal levels of around 3% and normal increases in payroll jobs at approximately 150,000 per month. The unemployment rate is likely to hold stubbornly to its current level but could be driven down by discouraged workers dropping out of the labor force."
"We are more optimistic than last month, but are still targeting GDP growth of 3% for the first quarter of 2011, which remains at the low end of the range of expectations," continued Leamer. "The outlook remains consistent with the PCI's view of the fundamental health of the U.S. economy over the past four months."
Over time, the PCI has shown a substantial correlation with Industrial Production. Last month, the PCI correctly suggested Industrial Production for February would come in flat to slightly down at .02%. The strong March PCI suggests a 0.8% gain in industrial production for March when that data are released by the Federal Reserve on April 15.
"March represents the sixteenth consecutive month of year-over-year growth in the index," explained Craig Manson, senior vice president and index expert for Ceridian. "This is particularly encouraging because the first six months of last year were strong, and the index posted solid growth despite the difficult year-over-year comparison. Continuation of this trend is welcome news, because like the overall economy, the PCI has been growing since it first turned positive in December of 2009."
The complete March report, regional analysis and additional commentary are available at www.ceridianindex.com or by contacting [email protected]. 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 and also offers companies access to more detailed fuel-use information. 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