While traditional economic indicators get the most attention, a lot of economists like to look at sales of pick-up 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 is signaling that the small business is still gaining momentum.
During the month of September, Ford sold 55,077 F-Series trucks, which represents a 1.7% gain over last year. It was the best September for sales of the line in five years. So far this year, Ford has sold 463,733 F-Series trucks. This represents an 11.4% increase over 2011's YTD total, and it puts the company on pace to sell 618K for 2012. That year to date total would also represent the best annual total since 2007 when Ford sold 690,589 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 (940K) ever comes into play.