Econintersect: The American Trucking Associations’ (ATA) trucking index rose sharply 3.7% in November erasing last month's lost. Compared with November 2011, seasonally adjusted tonnage was up 1.0%.
It should be noted that jobs grew in November in the trucking industry. From the press release:
“Sandy impacted both October’s and November’s tonnage readings,” ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello said. “But it was still good to see tonnage snap back in November.” Costello said he expects a boost to flatbed tonnage from the rebuilding in the areas impacted by Sandy, but most of that won’t happen until the spring when the money starts flowing and the weather is conducive to building.”
"Outside of Sandy, if the fiscal cliff isn’t fixed in time, expect a slowdown in tonnage early next year as paychecks shrink for all households,” Costello said. “Since trucks account for the vast majority of deliveries in the retail supply, any reduction in consumer spending will hurt.” Costello added that even if we don’t go off the fiscal cliff, he expects slower tonnage growth in 2013 than 2012 as better housing starts and auto sales will be offset by slower factory output and consumer spending."
Econintersect tries to validate data across data sources. It appears this month that jobs growth says the trucking industry grew 0.3% month-over-month (red line) and trucking jobs indexed to Jan 2000 = 100 is continuing to show steady improvement (blue line). Please note using BLS employment data in real time is risky, as their data is normally backward adjusted significantly. However, long term trends are showing a steady growth.
Please note that the ATA does not release an unadjusted data series where Econintersect can make an independent evaluation.