ATA Truck Tonnage Index Highest in Five Years

The American Trucking Associations’ advanced seasonally adjusted (SA) For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index increased 2.9% in January after jumping 2.4% in December. (The 2.4% gain in December was revised down from a 2.8% increase ATA reported on January 22, 2013.)

Tonnage has surged at least 2.4% every month since November, gaining a total of 9.1% over that period. As a result, the SA index equaled 125.2 (2000=100) in January versus 121.7 in December. January’s index was the highest on record. Compared with January 2012, the SA index was up a robust 6.5%, the best year-over-year result since December 2011.

“The trucking industry started 2013 with a bang, reflected in the best January tonnage report in five years,” ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello said. “While I believe that the overall economy will be sluggish in the first quarter, trucking likely benefited in January from an inventory destocking that transpired late last year, thus boosting volumes more than normal early this year as businesses replenish those lean inventories.”

ATA recently revised the seasonally adjusted index back five years as part of its annual revision. For all of 2012, tonnage was up 2.3%, the same as reported prior to the revision. In 2011, the index was up 5.8%.

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