posted on 25 January 2017
Written by Steven Hansen
Truck shipments declined or improved in December - depending on the data source. Trucking, like rail, may be finally showing signs of life.
The American Trucking Associations' (ATA) trucking index decreased 6.2 % in December following a 8.2 % rise in November.
From ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello:
Truck tonnage this month
Compared with one year ago, seasonally adjusted tonnage decreased 0.7 %.
Econintersect tries to validate ATA truck data across data sources. It appears this month that jobs growth says the trucking industry employment levels were up month-over-month - but insignificantly. Please note using BLS employment data in real time is risky, as their data is normally backward adjusted (sometimes significantly).
FTR's Trucking Conditions Index for October Pulls Back Ahead of Expected Market Improvement
CASS FREIGHT INDEX REPORT
As is often true of a change in trend, it is neither smooth nor linear. The October Cass Freight Shipments Index was up 2.7%, breaking a string of 20 months in negative territory, then November fell back into negative territory, albeit ever so slightly (down 0.5%). Now December—coming in up 3.5%—suggests that the October data was not a false positive but instead the beginning of a more positive trend. We have seen a wide range of results in the different modes, from continued volume growth in parcel and airfreight driven by e-commerce; to a sequential improvement in truck tonnage; to less bad rail and barge volume overall. Data is beginning to suggest that the consumer is finally starting to spend a little and that with the recent surge in the price of crude, the industrial economy's rate of deceleration has eased. If the winter of the overall freight recession we've been in for more than a year and a half in the U.S. is not yet over, it is certainly showing promising signs of thawing.
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