In the latest sign that Americans are feeling better about the economy, Ford Motor Co. on Monday reported significantly higher sales in May led by the strongest market for F-150 pickup trucks in six years.

"Ford sales are a bellwether for the U.S. economy," an industry spokesman told Secrets.

Truck sales jumped 31 percent over May 2012, passing 70,000 for the first time since 2007, said the company.

Overall, Ford sales popped 14 percent in May. The company sold nearly 60,000 Fusions and Escapes, models that continue to reach sales records every month.

The company said it plans to produce 800,000 vehicles in the second quarter and increased third quarter production estimates 10 percent to 740,000.

Ford has been closely watched in Washington ever since it turned down President Obama's auto bailout taken by General Motors and Chrysler. The company has continued to surprise policy makers with its record of gains.