ATA Truck Tonnage Index up 0.3 percent in October

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For the second consecutive month, the American Trucking Associations’ advanced seasonally adjusted for-hire Truck Tonnage Index increased 0.3 percent. The September increase was revised down to 0.3 percent from the previously reported 0.4 percent.

On a seasonally adjusted basis, the index rose to 114.2 from 113.9 in September. The index in October was 1.2 percent higher than a year earlier, which was the largest year-over-year gain since May of this year. Year-to-date, the index was up 2.0 percent compared with the same period in 2004. On a not-seasonally adjusted basis, the index fell 0.3 percent from September to 117.5.

ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello says that September and October were the first back-to-back monthly increases since October and November of 2004. He also noted that many carriers have increased capacity only marginally, if at all, so the gains in tonnage are more impressive than they may appear.

“It is difficult to increase volumes when you have the same number of trucks as a year ago, if not less,” Costello says. “The driver shortage is keeping a lid on capacity, which makes it difficult for motor carriers to increase tonnage significantly. I am very pleased with the increases in September and October, and I believe the gains are reflective of a solid, steady economy.”

ATA calculates the Truck Tonnage Index based on surveys from its membership and has been doing so since the 1970s. The baseline year for the index is 2000.