ATA Truck Tonnage Index fell 0.6% in May

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The American Trucking Associations’ advance seasonally adjusted For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index decreased 0.6 percent in May, the first month-to-month drop since February. This followed an upwardly revised 1 percent increase in April. The latest reduction put the SA index at 109.6. The nonseasonally adjusted index, which represents the change in tonnage actually hauled by the fleets before any seasonal adjustment, equaled 108.3 in May, down 2.8 percent from the previous month.

Compared with May 2009, SA tonnage increased 7.2 percent, which was the sixth consecutive year-over-year gain; in April, the year-over-year increase was 9.5 percent. Year-to-date, tonnage is up 6.2 percent compared with the same period in 2009.

ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello says truck freight tonnage is going to have ups and downs, but the trend continues in the right direction. “Despite the month-to-month drop in May, the trend line is still solid,” Costello says. “There is no way that freight can increase every month, and we should expect periodic decreases. This doesn’t take away from the fact that freight volumes are quite good, especially considering the reduction in truck supply over the last couple of years.”

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.