posted on 22 July 2016
Written by Steven Hansen
Truck shipments were reported down in June - even the BLS employment data was very weak.
The American Trucking Associations' (ATA) trucking index decreased 1.5 % in June, following a gain in May.
From ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello:
Truck tonnage this month
Compared with one year ago, seasonally adjusted tonnage increased 2.1 %.
Econintersect tries to validate ATA truck data across data sources. It appears this month that jobs growth says the trucking industry employment levels were down month-over-month. Please note using BLS employment data in real time is risky, as their data is normally backward adjusted significantly.
Weak Q1 Economics Pull FTR's Trucking Conditions Index Up in April
CASS FREIGHT INDEX REPORT
Freight shipments and expenditures edged up in June after three months of lackluster performance. For the first five months of 2016, U.S. exports were down 6.9 percent compared to 2015, while imports were down 5.2 percent for the same period. These obviously had put a damper on freight performance. GDP growth was 1.1 percent for the first quarter of 2016, slower than the 1.4 percent growth rate in the fourth quarter of 2015. The Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta's GDPNow model predicts second quarter GDP of 2.3 percent. The huge jump in employment in June is mostly for service sector jobs. There was virtually no change in transportation, construction, manufacturing or warehousing employment in June. Manufacturing was beginning to stir back to life with positive growth in production and new orders, according to the Institute for Supply Management's PMI Indexes.
The June freight shipments index climbed 1.7 percent. This was 4.3 percent below last year and 7.6 percent lower than June 2014. Stores are already stocking school supplies, which accounts for some of the rise. After particularly slow traffic in April and May, the Association of American Railroads reports that carload shipments rose 29.3 percent and intermodal shipments jumped 23.4 percent in June. The ATA reported that May truck tonnage was up 2.7 percent. DAT reported that spot market loads increased 28 percent in June—indicating that truck tonnage should be up in June also. June's shipments are in step with patterns that have been observed in the past few years, but are still well below the volume in the last two years. July usually sees a dip in the number of freight shipments, but the first part of July seems to be fairly robust.
Although the data for trucking does not correlate, we can assume trucking growth is sluggish and is trending downward.
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