Trucking Growth Abates In November 2018

Headline data for truck shipments similar trends and growth rates.

Analyst Opinion of Truck Transport

I tend to put a heavier weight on the CASS index which this month agreed with the ATA that the growth rate significantly declined year-over-year.

Econintersect tries to validate truck data across data sources. It appears this month that jobs growth says the trucking industry employment levels rate of growth slightly improved in November - which is consistent with the trucking data. Please note using BLS employment data in real time is risky, as their data is normally backward adjusted (sometimes significantly).

ATA Trucking

American Trucking Associations' advanced seasonally adjusted (SA) For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index increased 0.4 % in November after increasing a revised +5.0 % in October.

Said ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello:

The fact that tonnage rose in November after a strong October is impressive. It was likely due to some continued pull forward of shipments from China due to the threat of higher tariffs, as well as solid retail sales last month. With continued strength in November, tonnage growth is on pace to be the best year since 1998.

ATA Truck tonnage this month (not updated by ATA for October)


Compared with November 2017, the SA index increased 7.6%, down slightly from October's 8.1% year-over-year increase. Year-to-date, compared with the same period last year, tonnage increased 7.2%.

source: ATA


November was another month of high volatility and a sense of growing uncertainty in both the U.S. and global financial markets. Despite all of the 'hand-wringing' on Wall Street, the Transportation economy continues to signal economic expansion. The hard data of physical goods flow, which is uninfluenced by human emotion, confirms that people are still making things, shipping things, and buying / consuming things. Although not at the scorching pace attained earlier this year, expansion is still taking place at an above average pace.

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