posted on 29 March 2016
Truck shipments are reported up in February - with one index showing significant year-over-year growth whilst the other showing year-over-year contraction.
The American Trucking Associations' (ATA) trucking index improved 7.2 % in February, following a revised 0.3% decline in January. February's level is an all-time high.
From ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello:
Truck tonnage this month
Compared with one year ago, seasonally adjusted tonnage increased 8.6 %.
Econintersect tries to validate ATA truck data across data sources. It appears this month that jobs growth says the trucking industry employment levels were relatively unchanged month-over-month. Please note using BLS employment data in real time is risky, as their data is normally backward adjusted significantly.
FTR's Trucking Conditions Index January Reflects Slow Growth for Truck Freight
CASS FREIGHT INDEX REPORT
The number of North American freight shipments in February shot up 8.3 percent from January, erasing January's decline, while expenditures for freight shipments gained 6.3 percent (not quite overcoming January's drop). The strong growth in freight in February is the expected trend, but the recent fourmonth slide in freight traffic put the starting point for 2016 significantly lower than in the last several years. Economic growth slowed more than expected in the fourth quarter of 2015 and continued into January.
The robust turnaround this month signals improvement, but current economic conditions do not support a robust rebound. Global markets are still weak—especially with China's economic turmoil—which is reducing demand; the U.S. dollar remains strong, making our export goods more expensive on world markets; consumers are in a stronger position with positive income growth, but still remain conservative in their spending; and more growth has been seen in the purchase of services (eating out, hotels, airfare, movies, etc.) rather than goods purchases. Inventories remain very high in the goods sectors, which has reduced imports and domestic manufacturing.
There is no way to draw any conclusion on truck shipments. The data reported is contradictory. Sometimes data points do not fit. Maybe part of the problem is that this is a leap year.
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