ATA monthly tonnage index up 1.7%, year-to-year up 5.1%

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Ata Tonnage

The American Trucking Associations announced Tuesday, Oct. 26, that its advance seasonally adjusted For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index increased 1.7 percent in September after falling a revised 2.8 percent in August. The latest gain put the adjusted index at 108.7 in September from 106.9 in August. The nonadjusted index, which represents the change in tonnage actually hauled by the fleets before any seasonal adjustment, equaled 112.4 in September, down 0.9 percent from the previous month.

Compared with September 2009, adjusted tonnage climbed 5.1 percent, which was well above August’s 2.9 percent year-over-year gain. Year-to-date, tonnage is up 6.1 percent compared with the same period in 2009. ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello says that truck tonnage over the last few months fits with an economy that is growing very slowly.

“While I am glad to report that tonnage grew in September, the fact remains that truck freight volumes leveled off over the summer and early autumn,” Costello says. “This is a reflection of an economy that is barely growing.” Costello noted again this month that the trucking industry is significantly smaller than it was prior to the recession, but as a result, it is better equipped to deal with slower-than-normal tonnage growth.

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.