The Ceridian-UCLA Pulse of Commerce Index – a real-time measure of the flow of goods to U.S. factories, retailers and consumers – fell 0.3 percent in January, giving up some, but retaining much of, December’s 1.8 percent sequential gain. On a year-over-year basis, the PCI increased 3.4 percent in January, making it the 14th straight month of year-over-year growth.
Yet another factor affecting January’s PCI figure is the record-breaking snowfalls being experienced in the United States this winter. The heavily traveled Northeast and North Central regions of the nation were hit hard Jan. 9-13, and data shows that trucking was off by about 1 to 2 percent during that time. It was also noted that across the regions, activity was stronger at the end of the month than it was in the beginning.
“Some of December’s growth was driven by an unusually strong performance during the week between Christmas and New Years,” says Ed Leamer, chief PCI economist and director of the UCLA Anderson Forecast. “This, combined with the treacherous winter storms, likely detracted somewhat from the January result. However, when viewed in the context of a three-month moving average, the PCI clearly shows that the economic recovery remains on track.”