03/23/2012 3 Comments
The real world is made up of numbers. No models, just real time data collected by commercial activities like FedEx. I have always been interested in how to track economic activity in our County. A very knowledgable person once suggested that UPS and FedEx knew more about the economic health of Nevada County, than any public agency in the County, including the Economic Resource Council. However, they were not interested in sharing their data with the public agencies.
Now we learn this from a Power Line Post by Steven Hayward:
The economy is supposedly improving, but even if we took the falling unemployment rate at face value, there are too many signs that something is wrong. There are too many anomalies. I noted a few weeks ago the anomaly of collapsing gasoline and diesel fuel consumption, which started well before the current run-up in pump prices that is causing Obama to contort himself in unnatural ways. Falling fuel consumption ahead of a price spike isn’t consistent with a growing economy.
Today the Wall Street Journal takes note of one of my favorite indicators: Federal Express package shipping activity. Demand for package delivery is about as real-time an indicator as you can get, and doesn’t depend on survey data, statistical modeling, and “seasonal adjustment.” Today’s headline is “FedEx Scales Back Economic Forecasts.” The story says FedEx’s U.S. package delivery volume was off by 4 percent last quarter. They’re scaling back their own in-house economic forecast for the rest of the year. They’re going to take some planes out of service and park them in the desert, and shrink their workforce through attrition. Stay tuned.
Yes, stay tuned. The best indicator of economic activity in Nevada County is the number of UPS and FedEx trucks that come to our neighborhoods, and the above would indicate there will be fewer in the future. They are the most visible indicators of economic activity in our community, which has thousands of in home businesses. No fewer FedEx trucks means no local business growth.