Econintersect: The American Trucking Associations’ (ATA) trucking index improved 2.7% in November 2013 after declining 1.9% in October. The current level is a record high. From ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello:
Tonnage snapped back in November, which fits with several other economic indicators. Assuming that December isn't weak, tonnage growth this year will be more than twice the gain in 2012. [2012 increase was 2.3%]
Still, truck tonnage continues to be supported by fast growing sectors of the economy that generate heavy freight loads, like residential construction, fracking for oil and natural gas, and auto production
Compared with November 2012, seasonally adjusted tonnage was up 8.1%. Truck tonnage year-to-date is up 5.8% over 2012.
Econintersect tries to validate data across data sources. It appears this month that jobs growth says the trucking industry increased 0.6% month-over-month (red line) and trucking jobs growth indexed to Jan 2000 = 100 which had has been flat since April 2013 (blue line) - now appears to be accelerating over the last few monthss. Please note using BLS employment data in real time is risky, as their data is normally backward adjusted significantly.
This data series is not transparent and therefore cannot be relied up. Please note that the ATA does not release an unadjusted data series (although they report the unadjusted value each month - but do not report revisions to this data) where Econintersect can make an independent evaluation. The data is apparently subject to significant backward revision. Not all trucking companies are members of the ATA, and therefore it is unknown if this data is a representative sampling of the trucking industry.