A New Trucking Index Suggests Rough Road Ahead

A new economic index that tracks tangible information -- U.S. trucking activity -- rather than intangibles such as consumer confidence isn't painting a pretty picture. The barometer, which uses diesel fuel sales as a proxy for goods being trucked throughout the country, fell at a 36.8% annual rate in January after a 60.8% increase in December. Its three-month moving average dropped to a 3.3% annual growth rate, down from 14.6% in December. The data suggest that nation's robust 5.7% fourth-quarter GDP growth rate may be difficult to sustain.