Trucking Industry Growth Is Up Or Down Depending On The Source

Headline data for truck shipments showed that the American Trucking Association (ATA) tonnage showed continued strong year-over-year growth, but the CASS Freight Index reported the year-over-year growth rate continues to contract.

Analyst Opinion of Truck Transport

The CASS index is inclusive of rail, truck, and air shipments. The ATA truck index is inclusive of only member movements.

I tend to put a heavier weight on the CASS index which continued in contraction year-over-year. On the other hand, the ATA index significantly improved and remains strongly in expansion.

Econintersect tries to validate truck data across data sources. It appears this month that truck employment rate of growth continues to slow. Please note using BLS employment data in real time is risky, as their data is normally backward adjusted (sometimes significantly).

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ATA Trucking

American Trucking Associations' advanced seasonally adjusted (SA) For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index surged 7.4% in April after decreasing 2% in March. In April, the index equaled 121.8 (2015=100) compared with 113.4 in March.

Said ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello:

The surge in truck tonnage in April is obviously good for trucking, but it is important to examine it in the context of the broader economy. February and March were particularly weak months, as evidenced by the 3.5% dip in tonnage due to weather and other factors, so some of the gain was a catch-up effect. In addition, the Easter holiday was later than usual, likely pushing freight that would ordinarily be moved in March into April.

ATA Truck tonnage this month

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Compared with April 2018, the SA index increased 7.7%, the largest year-over-year gain since July.

source: ATA

CASS FREIGHT INDEX REPORT

The following was reported by CASS:

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

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