Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Gains for Various Transportation Indexes

1. The monthly Ceridian-UCLA Pulse of Commerce Index, based on real-time fuel consumption data for over the road trucking, rose 0.8% in May following a 0.1% increase in April and a 0.3% increase in March.  Here's today's report (note that it says the May report will be the last one issued?). 

2. From today's Cass Information Systems report, based on its Cass Freight Index, a monthly measure of North American freight volumes and expenditures:

"North American freight shipments and expenditures in May both posted increases for the fourth consecutive month, with spending growth outpacing the rise in shipment volume. Total dollars spent on freight rose 2.2 percent over April. The number of freight movements was up 1.8 percent in May. Cumulatively for the year, freight dollars are up 7.8 percent year over year, while number shipments volume is 8.5 percent higher than in 2011."

3. The Federal Highway Administration reported recently that monthly vehicle-miles of travel in March increased by 0.9% compared to a year earlier, marking the fourth consecutive monthly increase in vehicle-miles on a year-over-year basis.  Traffic volume increased in previous months by 1.8% in February, 1.6% in January and 1.3% in December.  What makes those gains in traffic volume noteworthy is that they were happening at a time when gas prices were rising, from $3.23 per gallon in mid-December to almost $4.00 by the end of March.


At 6/05/2012 3:07 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

on the other hand, total airfreight through ohare was down over 12% yoy in may, the 3rd time in 6 months we have seen double digit yoy drops and the 5th month of the last 7 to show a yoy decline.

also: the ceridian index is seasonal. (more trucking in the spring)

yoy for 3 months shows 2.2% growth, buy year on year growth is negative and this index remains well below 2011 levels. january was the lowest point on this index since early 2010.


i suspect the cass index may be more sensitive to fuel prices than freight volumes right now. it will be interesting to see what that does in may-june.

At 6/05/2012 3:08 PM, Blogger morganovich said...


go to page 3 and you can see that the yoy growth in the ceridian index has been negative all year so far.

At 6/05/2012 9:59 PM, Blogger J Scheppers said...

Dr. Perry, I like that you find the positive outlook in things. But your FHWA vmt trends are not quite as rosy as you depict. First while gas prices did rise from mid-December through March, the correct comparison is with how gas prices rose from mid-December through March 2011 compared to the same time frame in 2012. In this case it is not clear there is much difference in the prices in those time frames.

One also should take note that this is a leap year and that there is an extra day in Feb. So while there was an increase in vmt from Feb 2011 to Feb 2012, when looking at the daily averages for February there was a reduction see page 10.

I quite agree that the recent trend is an increase in VMT, but keep in mind we are at a level where the Feb 2012 vmt is about the same as the Feb 2004 vmt.

I also agree that fuel in the form of US oil and gas production will enable modest growth in the vmt. I however, think there is a real possibility that vmt will not resume its linear growth from the '70's to the early 2000's. The non-transportation communication devises clearly took advantage of the increased energy prices to take a significant market share.

At 6/05/2012 10:07 PM, Blogger Mark J. Perry said...

1. Gas in Dec. 2011 was 9.1% higher than Dec. 2010

2. Gas in January 2012 was 9.2% higher than January 2011

3. Gas in February 2012 was 11.5% higher than February 2011, and

4. Gas in March 2012 was 8.1% higher than March 2011.

At 6/06/2012 7:03 AM, Blogger bart said...

Cass data doesn't look that great:




At 6/06/2012 7:03 AM, Blogger bart said...

Same with Ceridian:



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