One economic indicator we’ve been watching at Young Research is the Ceridian-UCLA Pulse of Commerce Index. The Index is a leading indicator compiled using real-time data measuring the quantity of fuel being purchased for over the road trucking around the country. The more the economy accelerates, the more goods will need to be moved from production facilities and warehouses to retail outlets and final consumers. Measuring truck fuel consumption can provide analysts with a sneak-peak at demand trends throughout the economy.

So what is the index saying? You can see on our first chart that the Pulse of Commerce Index has begun to tail off since a post-recession peak in March of last year. On our second chart you can see that the change in the index has been negative year-over-year since November of 2011. The index has never had this many consecutive months of negative change without going into recession.