The American Trucking Assns. (ATA) seasonally adjusted for-hire truck tonnage index fell 11.1% in December 2008, the largest month-to-month reduction since April 1994, a time when the unionized less-than-truckload industry was in the midst of a strike.
ATA said that December was the third-largest single-month drop since the trucking lobby began collecting the data in 1973, and the seasonally adjusted tonnage index reached its lowest level since December 2000, declining 14.1% year-over-year.
“Motor carrier freight is a reflection of the tangible-goods economy, and December’s numbers leave no doubt that the United States is in the worst recession in decades,” said ATA chief economist Bob Costello. “It is likely truck tonnage will not improve much before the third quarter of this year. The economy is expected to contract through the first half of 2009 and then only grow slightly through the end of the year.”