A reader asked me to include the Dow Jones Transportation Index in my analysis of bear markets. That led me to Bureau of Transportation (BTS) data that I had not investigated before.

Here are some charts I created from data downloads plus an additional chart from Fred. The BTS most recent data is for October.

Truck Tonnage Index

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Up, up and away.

Source: The U.S. Department of Transportation, Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) calculation is from American Trucking Association Monthly Truck Tonnage Report.

The index made a new record high of 118 in October.

Rail Freight Carloads

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Source: Rail freight carloads - Association of American Railroads

Seasonally-adjusted rail freight carloads - U.S. Department of Transportation, Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) calculation from data collected by Association of American Railroads.

The monthly rail carloads and intermodals are estimated by dividing the weekly sum by 7 (7 days in a week) and then summing for the number of days in the month (31 days for May, 30 days for June, etc.).

Rail Freight Intermodal Traffic

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Intermodal freight transport involves the transportation of freight in an intermodal container or vehicle, using multiple modes of transportation (e.g., rail, ship, and truck), without any handling of the freight itself when changing modes.

Seasonally-adjusted, intermodal traffic peaked in July of 2018. Unadjusted traffic peaked in October.

Transportation Services Index

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Up, up, and away.

Source: The TSI numbers are BTS estimates.

Rail Freight Traffic vs Carloads Seasonally Adjusted

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The above chart suggests decreasing dependence on rail coupled with an increasing number of intermodal shifts to some other form of transportation, most likely trucks.

Humming Along

The BTS data makes you think the economy is humming on all four cylinders. The DOW transportation index is another matter indeed.

The November and December BTS data might be interesting.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock

Cass Truck Transportation Index in Freefall

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

Huge Difference Between GDPNow and Nowcast Models

The Atlanta Fed GDPNow and the New York Fed Nowcast GDP models once again are wildly different.

PPI for Goods and Services Diverge

The discrepancy between goods and services widened further this month as costs to produce good fell while services rose.

Recession Looms: Cass Freight Index Negative for 7th Month

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

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.

Dow Erases All Gains Since Trump Took Office

The DOW broke through a level first reached as Trump Took office.

Huge Difference Between ISM and PMI: Which One is Wrong?

Both the Institute of Supply Management and Markit released service sector reports. They are wildly different.

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.