The Cass Freight Index for U.S. shipping reached its highest level in three years in June, growing 4.9 percent from the month before, but the analysts behind the closely watched measure said the improvement likely did not signal a broad recovery in demand.
Cass Information Systems said companies that saw supply disruptions following the natural disasters in Japan in March “are producing at a higher level than before to fill back orders.”
The June measure for shipments also was 5.3 percent ahead of the same level a year ago. That put the index at 1.165, almost equal to the level of June 2008, just before the recession sent demand spiraling downward.
But the year-over-year growth rate slowed from the previous month for the third month in a row and the 5.3 percent pace was the slowest Cass has reported since February 2010.
The Cass Freight Index expenditures measure also pushed upward, growing 4.6 percent in June from May and 26.3 percent year-over-year. At 2.423, the index on spending is at the highest point Cass has ever measured and has been moving upward as expanding demand has come amid growing energy prices.