After climbing in May, the American Trucking Assns. seasonally adjusted for-hire truck tonnage index fell 2.4% in June. It increased 3.2% in May.
The index settled at 99.8. The figures represent a 13.6% decline from June 2008. The not seasonally adjusted index, which represents the change in tonnage actually hauled by fleets before seasonal factors are calculated, is at 107.3, up 5.2% from May.
“While I am hopeful that the worst is behind us, I just don’t see anything on the economic horizon that suggests freight tonnage is about to rise significantly or consistently,” ATA chief economist Bob Costello said. “The consumer is still facing too many headwinds, including employment losses, tight credit, and falling home values, to name a few, that will make it very difficult for household spending to jump in the near term.”
Costello also noted that truck tonnage will remain slow to rebound as inventories relative to sales are still too high. “As a result, this is likely to be the first time in memory that truck tonnage doesn’t lead the macro economy out of a recession,” he said. “Today, many new product orders can be fulfilled with current inventories, not new production, thus suppressing truck tonnage.”