Business Indicators

Success is largely determined by one’s own efforts but it is always helpful to know which way the tide is running. Here are several business indicators that can help in that regard:

The Purchasing Manager’s Index® or PMI® is a monthly indicator issued on the economic health of the manufacturing sector and is based on five major indicators: new orders, inventory levels, production, supplier deliveries and the employment environment. It is issued by Institute for Supply Management® (ISM®). The purpose of the PMI is to provide information about current business conditions to company decision makers, analysts and purchasing managers. An index number above 50 denotes economic expansion and below 50 denotes contraction. Click here for the current  Purchasing Manager’s Index®

The Midwest Economy Index (MEI) is issued by the Chicago Federal Reserve and is a monthly index designed to measure the non-farm business activity in the Seventh Federal Reserve District. The Seventh Federal Reserve District covers the northern portions of Illinois and  Indiana, southern Wisconsin, the Lower  Peninsula of Michigan, and the state of Iowa. It serves as a regional counterpart to the Chicago Fed National Activity Index (CFNAI). The MEI is released at 8:30 a.m. ET on scheduled days, normally toward the end of each calendar month. Click here for the current Midwest Economy Index

The VIX® Index® or the CBOE (Chicago Board Options Exchange) Volatility Index®  is a key measure of stock market expectations of near-term volatility conveyed by S&P 500 stock index option prices. Since its introduction in 1993, the VIX Index has been considered by many to be the world’s premier barometer of investor sentiment and market volatility. The near term direction of the S&P 500 Index is opposite of the current VIX about 80% of the time. Click here for the current VIX® Index®

Trucking activity can also be a bell weather indicator of near term economic trends.

DAT Trendlines™ is a high-level, weekly summary of spot market truckload rates taken from DAT’s RateView™ data base. RateView™ provides real-time capacity and market rate updates, along with contract rates, on 65,000 freight lanes across North America – as well as historic trends. These are the rates paid by shippers and freight brokers to carriers. RateView™ also covers weekly, monthly and 13-month trends for both spot market and contract rates. Click here for current DAT Trendlines™

The Cass Freight Index™ is a monthly measure of North American freight volumes and expenditures going back to 1995.  Data within the Index includes all domestic freight modes, including trucking, railroads, air and water, and is derived from nearly $21 billion in freight transactions processed by Cass annually on behalf of its client base of hundreds of large shippers. These companies represent a broad sampling of industries including consumer packaged goods, food, automotive, chemical, OEM, retail and heavy equipment. Annual freight volume per organization ranges from $1 million to over $1 billion. The diversity of shippers and aggregate volume provide a statistically valid representation of North American shipping activity and thereby economic activity. Click here for the current Cass Freight Index™.

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