Headline data for truck shipments improved year-over-year.
Analyst Opinion of Truck Transport
I tend to put heavier weight on the CASS index which showed strong growth year-over-year – but the ATA also shows significant growth YoY, just not as much as CASS
It should be pointed out that the trucking movements are improving YoY.
American Trucking Associations’ advanced seasonally adjusted (SA) For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index declined 2.6% in February after rising 1.6% in January. In February, the index equaled 109.2 (2015=100), down from 112.1 in January.
Said ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello:
Despite a softer February than January, freight remains robust as exhibited in the year-over-year increase. The drivers of truck freight – personal consumption, factory output and construction – are good, plus the inventory cycle is in favor of motor carriers, so I expect freight tonnage to grow at a decent pace in the months ahead.
ATA Truck tonnage this month
Compared with February 2017, the SA index jumped 5.7%, which was below January’s 8.4% year-over-year gain, but still well above 2017’s annual increase. For all of 2017, the index increased 3.8% over 2016. Year-to-date, compared with the same two months in 2017, tonnage is up 7.1%.
Econintersect tries to validate ATA truck data across data sources. It appears this month that jobs growth says the trucking industry employment levels were improved 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.