ATA Truck Tonnage Index Down 1.4% In June

The American Trucking Associations’ advance seasonally adjusted (SA) For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index decreased 1.4 percent in June, although May’s reduction was revised from 0.6 percent to just 0.1 percent. May and June marked the first back-to-back contractions since March and April 2009. The latest reduction lowered the SA index from 110.1 (2000=100) in May to 108.5 in June.

The not seasonally adjusted index, which represents the change in tonnage actually hauled by the fleets before any seasonal adjustment, equaled 115.9 in June, up 6.5 percent from the previous month.

Compared with June 2009, SA tonnage climbed 7.6 percent, which was just below May’s 7.7 percent increase and the seventh consecutive year-over-year gain. Year-to-date, tonnage is up 6.6 percent compared with the same period in 2009.

ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello said that the two sequential decreases reflect an economy that is slowing. Furthermore, growth in truck tonnage is likely to moderate in the months ahead as the economy decelerates and year-over-year comparisons become more difficult.

Nevertheless, Costello believes that tonnage doesn’t have to grow very quickly at this point since industry capacity has declined so much: “Due to supply tightness in the market, any tonnage growth feels significantly better for fleets than one might expect.”

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