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Pulse of Commerce Index weak but not likely a threat

The September UCLA-Ceridien Pulse of Commerce Index was weak, and it has been weak for a few months now. After healthy growth over the previous year, this index suggests the economy took a pause in the third quarter, and that seems consistent with other indicators that suggest the economy slowed down somewhat. The important thing is whether this presages further weakness. I seriously doubt it, and the folks at UCLA make this sensible observation:

This unfavorable news could be taken by the Cassandras of the double-dip as an alarm of a coming decline in GDP and another spike up in unemployment. The slowing growth of the PCI this year is similar to the behavior of the PCI in 2007 which presaged the recession that began in January of 2008. That recession produced major declines in the volatile cyclical components of GDP — residential investment, consumer durables and business spending on equipment and software. With all three of these components at or near record lows relative to GDP, it seems unlikely that any of them could contribute much to an outright GDP decline, and the other components of GDP do not have histories that suggest they could produce an outright decline either.

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