Ceridian-UCLA Pulse of Commerce Index

The Ceridian-UCLA Pulse of Commerce Index (PCI) 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.

(Appears to be discontinued as of June 2012)

Compiling and analyzing the data

Through Ceridian’s electronic card payment services for the transportation industry, diesel sales for freight haulage can be tracked and analyzed on a yearly, monthly, weekly and daily basis. Millions of these fuel transactions are processed each year, and the data provides evidence about the status and direction of the U.S. economy.[1]

Each time a road truck makes a diesel fuel purchase using a Ceridian card, Ceridian’s database captures the location and number of gallons pumped into the tank. The data is then analyzed to provide a detailed picture of road trucking activity along U.S. interstates and at cities, shipping ports, manufacturing centers, and border crossings with Canada and Mexico.[2]

Pulse of Commerce Index and the broader economy

In contrast to other economic indicators, which have a lag time or are based only on surveys of business leaders’ attitudes, the PCI is based on real-time, actual consumption data that provides insight into the economy before the monthly Industrial Production number is issued.

“This is the first source of data on diesel sales in almost real time. Diesel in the USA is the fuel used almost exclusively to move goods and materials. If there is an increase in diesel sales – it is pretty good evidence the economy is improving.”[3]

As the index changes, it offers real comparisons to past performance that captures a solid picture of what has happened, while showing the direction of the overall U.S. economy. This insight is invaluable to businesses, manufacturers, retailers and municipalities as they determine business strategy, plan for growth, or prepare for and manage a downturn.

“Back-testing of the data to 1999 shows the index closely matches growth in real gross domestic product and changes in the Federal Reserve’s industrial production data.

“The index’s main advantage over other data is its timeliness. The index is scheduled for release at 8:00 a.m. (ET) on the 10th day of each month–about four or five days before the Fed’s industrial report. Because Ceridian can access all fuel purchases in real time, the index won’t be subject to revisions.”[4]


The first PCI was issued on February 10, 2010, and covers data for January 2010. Each monthly report includes historical information for preceding months and years. The PCI is distributed on or near the 10th of every month. Deeper historical data and customized reports are also available.[2]


  1. ^“Ceridian – UCLA Pulse of Commerce Index :: The Market Oracle :: Financial Markets Analysis & Forecasting Free Website”. marketoracle.co.uk. Retrieved March 4, 2010.
  2. ^ Jump up to:ab “New diesel index shows state of economy”. landlinemag.com. Retrieved March 4, 2010.
  3. ^Coincident Indicators Are Stable With an Upward Bias SeekingAlpha.com, Steven Hanson, Feb. 27, 2010
  4. ^New Data May Offer More Timely Information On US Goods Demand – Dow Jones News: Thu, Jan 28, 2010

Ofer Abarbanel – Executive Profile

Ofer Abarbanel online library

Ofer Abarbanel online library

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