Investment Insights are written by Angeles' CIO Michael Rosen
Michael has more than 30 years experience as an institutional portfolio manager, investment strategist, trader and academic.
Mark Twain wrote in his autobiography that there are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics. How true.
Revenue can be deferred (or accelerated), profits are easily manipulated, inventory gets adjusted: most data have to be scrutinized and dissected, and even then, can be misleading. But there are some statistics that just don’t lie, and the amount of goods hauled around the country is one of them. The reason is that no one in their right mind would haul goods from one place to another for the fun of it: real goods get moved around the country to generate real sales. It’s a pretty pure measure of true economic activity.
Trucking tonnage grew 3.5% in 2015, to an all-time high (see graph below). In the past week, we received some mixed signals about the economy’s strength, with weaker-than-expected numbers in retail sales and a decline in average wages. My guess, though, is that these are anomalies, noise, to use the technical term. As long as truckers are hauling more stuff, we can be sure the economy is growing. They are, and it is.