The American Trucking Associations’ advance seasonally adjusted For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index increased 1.6 percent in September after falling a revised 0.5 percent in August, ATA said Tuesday, Oct. 25. The latest gain put the adjusted index at 115.8 in September, up from the August level of 114.
The nonseasonally adjusted index, which represents the change in tonnage actually hauled by the fleets before any seasonal adjustment, equaled 119.5 in September, which was 3.1 percent below the previous month. Compared with September 2010, adjusted tonnage was up a solid 5.9 percent. In August, the tonnage index was 4.9 percent above a year earlier.
“I continue to believe the economy will skirt another recession because truck tonnage isn’t showing signs that we are in a recession,” said Bob Costello, ATA chief economist. “Tonnage is suggesting that we are in a weak growth period for the economy, but not a recession.”
Costello said the third-quarter average exhibited signs of small gains for the broader economy, not contraction. “In the third quarter, tonnage was up 0.4 percent from the second quarter,” he said. “Prior to the two previous recessions, truck tonnage was plummeting, but not this time.”
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.