|Diesel fuel usage|
One can see in the next chart the apparent divergence between retail sales and diesel usage.
The researchers at Ceridian note the divergence as well and have a possible solution Unlike the rest of the economy which is improving on a year over year basis, the housing market remains stuck in the duldroms and is still sputtering along the bottom. (See page 6 in the above linked report)
While productivity improvements are also possible I find it unlikely the rate of improvement would be enough to create the entire divergence. Perhaps the lack of a growing home market and improved fuel usage (or the continued virtualization of our economy) are enough to close the gap between retail sales growth and flat fuel usage. Only time and further research will tell. Regardless this indicator bears watching.
|Fuel usage and retail sales|