Truck Tonnage Back Up After September Loss
American Trucking Associations’ advanced seasonally adjusted For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index rose 0.5% in October, following a revised decline of 0.8% during the previous month. In October, the index equaled 132.1 (2000=100), which was the second highest level on record after August.
Compared with October 2013, the SA index increased 4.5%, up from September’s 2.9% year-over-year gain. Year-to-date, compared with the same period last year, tonnage is up 3.2%.
The not seasonally adjusted index, which represents the change in tonnage actually hauled by the fleets before any seasonal adjustment, equaled 140.4 in October which was 4.3% above the previous month (134.6).
“Tonnage made a nice comeback after declining in September,” said ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello. “The gain fits with the increases in retail sales and factory output during October, as well as with good anecdotal reports about the fall freight season.”
“The solid month-to-month gain, coupled with the acceleration in the year-over-year growth rate, is a good sign for the fourth quarter,” Costello said. “In addition, I’m expecting a solid fall freight season as holiday sales are forecasted to see the largest increase since 2011.” To watch Costello discuss the monthly tonnage report, click here.
Trucking serves as a barometer of the U.S. economy, representing 69.1% of tonnage carried by all modes of domestic freight transportation, including manufactured and retail goods. Trucks hauled 9.7 billion tons of freight in 2013. Motor carriers collected $681.7 billion, or 81.2% of total revenue earned by all transport modes.
ATA calculates the tonnage index based on surveys from its membership and has been doing so since the 1970s. This is a preliminary figure and subject to change in the final report issued around the 10th day of the month. The report includes month-to-month and year-over-year results, relevant economic comparisons, and key financial indicators.