Retail sales for Class 5 through 8 trucks posted solid gains in April, according to the latest numbers tabulated by ACT Research Co. (ACT) – right alongside a small yet steady increase in “economic confidence” tracked by the Conference Board.

“Class 8 retail sales rose 6% month over month to their best reading in six months at 23,100 units, and the strongest sales months of the year are yet to come,” noted Steve Tam, ACT’s VP-commercial vehicle sector, in a statement.

“Class 5 through 7 retail sales rose nearly 14% month over month to 20,100 units, their highest level since March 2007,” he added. “Year to date, Class 8 sales are up 9% and Classes 5-7 sales are up 13%.”

On top of that, the Conference Board’s Leading Economic Index (LEI) for the U.S. increased 0.4% in April, which follows 1% increase in March and a 0.5% increase in February.

"The LEI rose for the third consecutive month, driven largely by improving housing and financial market conditions," noted Ataman Ozyildirim, an economist with the Conference Board. "This latest report suggests the economy will continue to expand, and may even pick up steam through the second half of the year."

"Despite a brutal winter which brought the economy to a halt, the overall trend in the leading economic index has remained positive," added Ken Goldstein, another Conference Board economist. "If consumers continue to spend, and businesses pick up the pace of investment, the industrial core of the economy will benefit and GDP [gross domestic product] growth could move closer towards the 3% range."