I've been tracking truck tonnage for a long time, and it's been a reliable—and generally bullish—indicator of underlying economic activity. It measures the actual tonnage of freight hauled by the nation's carriers, and this physical measure of the economy's size has also tracked the inflation-adjusted gains of the US equity market. Truck tonnage surged almost 8% in the year ending November, and this is one of the most impressive proofs that economic activity has improved measurably this year.
As Chart #1 shows, truck tonnage over time has increased very much in line with the inflation-adjusted increase in equity prices. The latest surge in truck tonnage correlates well with the strength of the stock market this year. If anything, this chart suggests that the equity market is behaving in line with the economic fundamentals and is not, as many fear, in a bubble....MORERecently:
Signposts: Trucking Looking Very Good