The American Trucking Assns. (ATA) seasonally adjusted For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index fell 3% in October, marking the fourth consecutive month-to-month drop and reaching its lowest level since October 2003.
According to ATA chief economist Bob Costello, the fact that truck tonnage has decreased 6.3% in the past four months highlights the current weakness of the U.S. economy. While he noted that there has been a leveling off of the traditional fall freight season in recent years as more freight is delivered in November and December, he said this October was particularly weak due to the economic recession.
“The cumulative drop in truck tonnage over the last four months suggests that the economy is likely to contract substantially in the fourth quarter, at least 3%,” Costello said. “October should be the busiest month of the year, but instead this October was a fizzle…The latest truck tonnage drop suggests that retailers are very pessimistic for the holiday sales season.”