Econintersect: The American Trucking Associations’ (ATA) trucking index rose 0.6% in March 2014 after rising 1.9% in February (originally reported as 2.8% expansion). From ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello:
Tonnage continued to claw its way out of the hole that was dug in December and January. However, with a cumulative gain of 2.5% during the last two months, we still have a way to go to offset the total loss of 5.2% in December and January.
Despite the fact that tonnage hasn’t snapped back to the levels we saw late last year, the fundamentals for truck freight continue to look good. While it will take time to regain what was lost due to weather and other factors, like a potential inventory correction in the first quarter, I remain optimistic for 2014; however, don’t expect a 6.3% annual gain in truck tonnage like during 2013.
Compared with March 2013, seasonally adjusted tonnage increased 3.1%.
Econintersect tries to validate data across data sources. It appears this month that jobs growth says the trucking industry increased 0.0% 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.