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posted on 24 January 2018

Trucking Growth Is Up or Down In December 2017 - It Depends On the Source.

Written by Steven Hansen

Headline data for truck shipments were mixed.

Analyst Opinion of Truck Transport

I tend to put heavier weight on the CASS index which showed stronger growth year-over-year. The ATA data showed a decline.

It should be pointed out that although the data seems to be improving, it is nothing to write home about when compared to previous years.

It is also interesting that the current trucking employment pattern shows a declining rate of growth over the last few years.


ATA Trucking

American Trucking Associations' advanced seasonally adjusted (SA) For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index fell for the first time since September, losing 5.7% in December. In December, the index equaled 142.9 (2000=100), down from 151.6 in November.Said ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello:

Despite the decline in December, last year was a solid year for truck tonnage, especially during the second half of 2017. I remain optimistic for 2018 for a host of reasons, including a pick-up in factory activity, better housing construction, solid retail sales, and an expected shot in the arm from the new tax law.

ATA Truck tonnage this month [not updated from November]

z truck.jpg

Compared with December 2016, the SA index increased 5.9%, which was down from November's 7.5% year-over-year gain, but still very strong. In October, the index surged 10.5% on a year-over-year basis.

Econintersect tries to validate ATA truck data across data sources. It appears this month that jobs growth says the trucking industry employment levels were little changed month-over-month. Please note using BLS employment data in real time is risky, as their data is normally backward adjusted (sometimes 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


CASS FREIGHT INDEX REPORT

Fasten Your Seat Belts ‐ Volume Continues to be Strong, Pricing Even Stronger

Not only did the Shipments and Expenditures Indexes extend their run of positive YoY comparisons, but those comparisons have become increasingly positive. Shipments first turned positive fifteen months ago, while Expenditures turned positive twelve months ago. Throughout the U.S. economy, we are continuing to see a growing number of data points suggesting that the economy continues to get better. The 7.2% YoY increase in the December Cass Shipments Index is yet another data point which confirms that the first positive indication in October 2016 (before the election) was a change in trend.

z truck1.PNG

Source: http://www.cassinfo.com/Transportation-Expense-Management/Supply-Chain-Analysis/Cass-Freight-Index.aspx




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