Truck tonnage fell in October in first monthly decline since July, says ATA

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11 19 13 Tonnage GraphicThe For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index, produced monthly by the American Trucking Associations, fell 2.8 percent in October, marking the indexes first decrease since July.

Moreover, the September index reading was downwardly revised from a 1.4 percent gain to a 0.5 percent gain. October’s reading was the lowest since April but was up 8 percent from October 2012 — the largest year-over-year gain since December 2011.

Year-to-date, the tonnage index is up 5.5 percent from the same 10-month period in 2012

“From May through September, the index surged 3.5%, including only one monthly decrease over that period,” said ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello. “It isn’t surprising for volumes to fall back some after such a good run.”

Costello also said he sees signs from the trucking industry that show the economy may be “stronger than we think,” including a quarterly surge in generic dry van truckload freight, which had its best quarter to quarter gain since 2010. “I view this positively for the economy,” Costello said. “I view it positively for trucking. Now, we have to see if it continues.”