This close-up look at the performance of the index highlights its strength in the past several months, and the fact that it finally exceeded its 2007 peak, which occurred six months before the economy entered the Great Recession.
The chart above gives you a longer-term perspective on the behavior of the index, which invariably turns down in recessions (often in advance of recessions), and invariably rises during recoveries. It would appear that the recent behavior of the index points to stronger growth than is widely perceived to be the case.
To be conservative, the strength in the Chemical Activity Index suggests that at the very least, a recession is not on the near-term horizon, and that the economy should prove to be at least a bit stronger, in the months to come, than the market is expecting.
Truck tonnage in June was a bit weaker than in May, but as the chart below suggests, it remains on an upward trend. Both chemical activity and truck tonnage are good measures of the physical size and growth of the economy, and both suggest the economy continues to make progress.