ATA Truck Tonnage Index up 1.5% in September

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The American Trucking Associations announced Thursday, Oct. 25, that its advanced seasonally adjusted For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index increased 1.5 percent in September, after falling 0.8 percent in August. The not-seasonally adjusted index fell 10.6 percent from August to 107.4.

On a seasonally adjusted basis, the tonnage index rose to 111.6 in September. Despite September’s sequential increase, tonnage was down 2.3 percent from a year earlier. Year-to-date, the tonnage index was 2.2 percent lower than during the same period in 2006.

ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello said the September tonnage reading points to continued softness in the trucking industry, despite the month-to-month increase. Although the 1.5-percent gain was the biggest monthly increase since February of this year, Costello noted that he expects tonnage to remain choppy in the foreseeable future, a trend that started a couple of months ago.

“Nearly all economic indicators suggest continued sluggishness for the trucking industry in the near term,” Costello said. He added that September’s reading points to a lackluster 2007 fall freight season, which traditionally starts in mid- to late August and peaks in October. “We are sticking with our economic forecasts that point to below-trend growth for the overall economy and truck tonnage,” Costello said.

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