ATA: Tonnage index rebounds but could dip again

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The American Trucking Associations’ advanced seasonally adjusted For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index increased for the first time since July in November, gaining 3.7 percent over October’s number, erasing the 3.7 percent drop from the previous month. 

The Index is up 1 percent year over year and, year to date, up 2.8 percent over the same month in 2011. 

The non-seasonally adjusted number is actually 6.5 percent below October’s reading. 

“Sandy impacted both October’s and November’s tonnage readings,” ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello said.   “But it was still good to see tonnage snap back in November.” Costello said he expects rebuilding efforts to drive flatbed tonnage, especially in the spring when money starts moving and weather is more conducive to building. 

Costello said he also expects tonnage to slow down if “fiscal cliff” negotiations don’t work out in time, which could offset improving housing starts numbers and improving auto sales with slower factory output and dents in consumer spending.