A Great US Economic Indicator for Small Business

Small business owners don’t generally follow broad based economic indicators such as gross domestic product (GDP), industrial production, national unemployment or hundreds of others produced by the federal government.  But there’s a new kid on the economic forecasting block that’s worth checking out for an accurate view of where the economy is likely headed.  

The Ceridian-UCLA Pulse of Commerce Index – or just PCI for short – is a first-of-its-kind, real time measure of the flow of goods to U.S. factories, retailers and consumers.   This privately-produced index is a way to see what’s happening much earlier than government data that can lag months behind and often undergoes numerous subsequent revisions.

Unlike survey-based indicators, or those that rely on estimates (or outright guessing), PCI is based on actual fuel purchases by trucking companies as they happen.  Speed of data collection is key.  This could not have happened in the past before the age of fuel cards that get swiped thousands of times daily coast to coast.  Each time a trucker buys diesel, the information is captured.  Collectively, these purchases have proven to be a highly accurate indicator of what’s really happening in the economy ahead of anything else.   

The tale being told right now by the PCI is positive.  The latest report showed a 16th consecutive month of year-over-year growth.   The PCI has been growing since it first turned positive in December 2009. In short, the PCI says the U.S. economy is fundamentally healthy, and continuing to improve, albeit slowly.

The complete latest report, regional analysis and additional commentary are available free at www.ceridianindex.com or by contacting index@ceridian.com. The site also offers further details such as index graphs and downloadable data, video commentary and background information with options to receive updates via e-mail and RSS feed.

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About the Author:

Daniel Kehrer, Founder and Chief Content Officer of BizBest Media, is a senior-level leader in digital media, content development and online marketing with special expertise in startups, SMB, social media and generating traffic, engagement and leads. He holds an MBA from UCLA/Anderson and is a passionate entrepreneur (started 4 businesses), syndicated columnist, blogger, thought leader and author of 7 business and financial books.

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