Econintersect: The American Trucking Associations’ (ATA) trucking index rose 2.8% in February 2014 after falling 4.5% in January (originally reported as 4.3% contraction). From ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello:
It is pretty clear that winter weather had a negative impact on truck tonnage during February. However, the impact wasn’t as bad as in January because of the backlog in freight due to the number of storms that hit over the January and February period.
The fundamentals for truck freight continue to look good. Several other economic indicators also snapped back in February. We have a hole to dig out of from such a bad January, but I feel like we are moving in the right direction again. I remain optimistic for 2014.
Compared with February 2013, seasonally adjusted tonnage increased 3.6%. Truck tonnage year-to-date is up 2.3% over 2013.
Econintersect tries to validate data across data sources. It appears this month that jobs growth says the trucking industry increased 0.0% month-over-month (red line). 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 on. 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.