While traditional economic indicators get the most attention, a lot of economists like to look at sales of pickup trucks as an indicator of strength in the small business sector. The reason they focus on pickup truck sales is because small business owners tend to make up a large portion of the overall buyers of these types of vehicles. To that point, Ford's (NYSE:F) monthly report of its iconic F-Series truck line continues to signal positive growth in the U.S. economy.
During the month of November, Ford sold 56,299 F-Series trucks, which represents an 18% increase vs. last year. This represents the strongest November for the line since November 2005 and the 16th straight month of year/year increases.
So far this year, Ford has sold 577,000 F-Series trucks, which is nearly 12% greater than last year's YTD total through November. At this rate, Ford will sell 629,000 F-Series trucks this year, putting 2012 on pace for the best year since 2007 when Ford sold 691,000 F-Series trucks. There has no doubt been an improvement over the last few years, but it will also be some time before 2004's record high level of sales (940,000) ever comes into play.