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posted on 26 December 2015

Trucking Tonnage Down In November 2015.

Truck shipments remain weak. One index is still in expansion year-over-year in November, whilst the other is in contraction.

ATA Trucking

The American Trucking Associations' (ATA) trucking index declined 0.9% in November, following an increase of 1.8% during October. The October figure was revised down from our press release on November 24. In November, the index equaled 134.3 (2000=100), down from 135.5 in October, and 1.1% below the all-time high of 135.8 reached in January 2015.

From ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello:

Tonnage gave back half of the gain in October highlighting weakness in factory output and new fracking activity, as well as a glut of inventories throughout the supply chain. With year-over-year gains averaging just 1.2% over the last three months, there has been a clear deceleration in truck tonnage.

Looking ahead, I remain concerned about the high level of inventories throughout the supply chain. We recently learned that inventories throughout the supply chain and relative to sales rose in October. This will have a negative impact on truck freight volumes over the next few months," he said.

z truck.jpg

Compared with one year ago, seasonally adjusted tonnage increased 0.2 %.

Econintersect tries to validate data across data sources. It appears this month that jobs growth says the trucking industry improved 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.

source: ATA

FTR's Trucking Conditions Index Continues to Fall in October Ahead of Expected Improvements in 2016

FTR's Trucking Conditions Index (TCI) measure for October fell more than three points from September to a reading of 5.06. The TCI was projected by FTR to decline through 2015Q4, so the October reading was not unexpected. Conditions are expected to improve for truckers in 2016 as shippers become concerned with the possibility of tight capacity in the second half of the year. FTR is forecasting 3% or better growth for truck loadings in 2016, reflecting stronger than expected results in 2015 and continued economic growth going forward.


CASS FREIGHT INDEX REPORT freight Shipments Index was stronger than expected - but still below 2014 levels.



At best, truck shipments are weak. At worst, they are contracting towards multi-year lows. Consider that online retailing is growing, and this is a contradictory sign.

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