The latest Ceridian-UCLA Pulse of Commerce IndexTM is out and the January numbers are not good, showing a drop of 1.7% when compared to December -- and this in the face of some pretty good economic numbers coming from other indicators. Alas, don't worry, Ed Leamer, the chief economist for the Ceridian Index and director of the UCLA Anderson forecast explains why:
"The Ceridian-UCLA Pulse of Commerce IndexTM was down 1.7% from December to January on a month-over-month basis. On a year-over-year basis we're down 2.2%. Both of these number are extremely disappointing, signaling very, very moribund trucking -- and that's in the fact of quite a few other indicators that suggest the economy is turning around, most notably the labor market.
"Everything that we're getting about the labor market is suggesting 2012 is going to be a much better year than 2011. And it's not just the labor market. It's also real retail sales (and) industrial production.
"What's happening with trucking? Why is our measure of trucking so weak? There are several hypothesis.
"So, the other hypothesis which we continue to maintain, is that trucking is delayed and that we're going to see a surge in trucking in March and April and February. So, tune in next month, we think February is going to be a lot better than January."