ATA Truck Tonnage Index rose 2.1% in August

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The American Trucking Associations announced Friday, Sept. 25, that its advance seasonally adjusted (SA) For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index increased 2.1 percent in August, matching July’s increase of the same magnitude. The latest gain raised the SA index to 104.1, which was the best reading since February 2009.

The nonseasonally adjusted index, which represents the change in tonnage actually hauled by fleets before any seasonal adjustment, equaled 105.8 in August, down 0.5 percent from July. Compared with August 2008, SA tonnage fell 7.5 percent, which was the best year-over-year showing since November 2008.

ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello says the latest increase was another positive sign for the industry. “The gains in tonnage during July and August reflect a growing economy and less of an overhang in inventories,” says Costello, who is hopeful that the overall trend in truck tonnage during the months ahead will be upward.

Costello acknowledged, however, that the pace of increase likely will moderate from the cumulative 4.3 percent gain over the last two months. “While I am optimistic that the worst is behind us, most economic indicators, including industrial output and household spending, suggest freight tonnage will exhibit moderate, and probably inconsistent, growth in the months ahead,” he says.

ATA calculates the tonnage index based on surveys from its membership. The report includes month-to-month and year-over-year results, relevant economic comparisons and key financial indicators. The baseline year is 2000.