The Cass Freight Index for U.S. shipments grew 4.4 percent in August over the same month a year ago, the smallest gain in a year-and-a-half and a sign of fragile demand in the American economy.
The closely watched measure of industrial freight demand improved 1.9 percent sequentially from July to August after tumbling 3.7 percent in July.
Although the August shipment index showed demand gaining, the year-over-year gain was far slower than the 11 percent increase in July and the slimmest Cass has reported since the index contracted in February 2010.
By the Numbers: Cass Freight Index
The Cass expenditures index jumped 15.8 percent in August over the same month a year ago, likely the result of higher energy and transportation costs. But the expenditures index fell 3.8 percent from July to August, signaling costs were running ahead of underlying demand.
The spending index reached its lowest point since March.