Don't Call it a Comeback

In reference to the Cass Shipping Index for June, Cass Says "Don't Call it a Comeback."

The Cass Freight Index showed sequential volume improvement again in June, although freight volumes still remain well below year-ago levels and also below pre-pandemic levels. We were thinking the June rebound would have been stronger, based on what we’re hearing on the trucking side and what we’ve been seeing with respect to rail traffic and with the ISM Index now back >50. 

Cass Freight Index vs Prior Years

Cass Freight Index vs Prior Years for  June 2020

As a measure of economic activity, Cass Freight Index shipment volumes dropped 17.8% vs year-ago levels, better than last month’s -23.6% y/y change, but not good by any absolute measure. The index reading from May nudged up 3.5%, an acceleration from the 1.6% sequential improvement seen from April’s low to May. We believe the stock market run over the last few months has, therefore, largely been a function of very low interest rates (higher valuation multiples) and not a function of a better economy (higher earnings).

Total Freight Expenditures 

Total Freight Expenditures  for June 2020

Total freight expenditures have taken a drastic hit.


No Significant Recovery

Cass has numerous other charts that all say the same thing: There is no significant recovery. 

All Continued Unemployment Claims Top 32 Million Again

Given that All Continued Unemployment Claims Top 32 Million Again there is no reason to believe things have improved much.

Additional Key Ideas

  1. American Airlines is in Deep Financial Stress and will shed 16,000 or more jobs.
  2. United Warns It May Cut 36,000 Employees
  3. A Surge in Small Business Bankruptcies is Underway
  4. That Fewer People Pay Their Rent on Time in July suggests more people are struggling.
  5. Phone Data Shows the Retail Recovery Has Stalled in Covid Hotspots
  6. Patients Stranded in Emergency Rooms as Hospitals Fill Up

Where to From Here?

The above 6 headline items tell the story.


Cass Truck Transportation Index in Freefall

The Cass Truckload Linehaul Index is down for the third consecutive month.

Cass Year-Over-Year Freight Index Sinks to a 12-Year Low

Year-over-year, the Cass shipping index turned in its worst performance since the Great Recession.

Cass Freight Index Contracts 8th Month: Cass Predicts Negative GDP by Q3 or Q4

Based on global shipping indexes, Cass expects a US GDP contraction in the third or fourth quarter.

U-Turn in Trucking: Cass Truck Shipment Index Down 4th Consecutive Month

The Cass Freight Index, a measure of truck shipments is down for the fourth consecutive month year-over-year.

Huge Divergence Between the DOW Tran Index and Dept of Transportation Stats

Transportation is humming according to the US Bureau of Transportation. The Dow transportation index is another matter.

Recession Looms: Cass Freight Index Negative for 7th Month

According to Cass, "Freight shipments signal economic contraction".

Cass Freight Index Down 9th Month "Signaling Economic Contraction”

Year-over-year freight volume is down nine consecutive months starting December of 2018.

Flat is the New Up: Cass Shipping Index Down 12 Straight Months

In November, shipment volumes fell 3.3% They are are negative year-over-year for 12 consecutive months.