Monday, June 15, 2009

Flights Into The Unknown

Three charts from the real economy (a.k.a. not finance): passenger and freight ton revenue miles for the U.S. airline system (i.e. domestic and international flights), plus the truck tonnage index.

Airline Freight Down 26%

Passenger Traffic Down 11%

The data are current to March 2009, so they may not reflect Messrs. Bernanke and Geithner's purported "green shoots". Then again, there may not be any - except those sprouting inside the ever-fertile minds of stock and bond speculators..

Witness, the Truck Tonnage Index (seasonally adjusted, current to April) compiled by the American Trucking Association. According to them, trucks carry 69% of tonnage carried, and collect 83% of all revenue generated, by all modes of transportation.

Truck Tonnage Down 13.2%
Chart: ATA


  1. Great chart and post as always Hell. Thanks.

    Without intending to making you feel like the pizza delivery whipping boy for a blogosphere readership that is always asking "feed me more Seymour", do you have any sense of whether the drop off is further non-linear in the sense that the least efficient trucks, cars, trains and planes, etc... are seeing an even larger drop off than the more efficient transport vehicles?

    It would make sense

  2. I presume, Hell, that if the truck tonnage is way down, it is PRIMARILY because there are less and less REAL GOODS to fill up all them phantom trucks/planes.
    Is that correct ?

  3. "Just the facts mame."

    Sgt. Friday

    "Facts are stubborn things"

    John Adams

    Soon, all of these inconvenient facts are going to congeal and go critical mass. I fully expect some major ugly to go down over July/August. This will set the stage for a dollar rout before the year is out.

    Joe M.

  4. OOPS, that should have been FEWER and FEWER and not less and less.
    Damned Internet. It makes US sloppy with our grammar and spelling...

  5. Looking around my front room, tidying up as my two year old gets her bath with her mum, I'm looking around at an array of plastic tat, toys brought by relatives for her recent second birthday. How much time and money has been wasted on such 'stuff'? Those trucks must have been full of 'stuff' over the past ten tears, stuff we never knew we needed, stuff we now know we don't need.

  6. Dear Debra,

    The Truck Tonnage Index indicates the quantity of goods (by weight) being hauled by trucks in the USA.