ATA: Tonnage rise signals robust trend

Dec. 22, 2014

The American Trucking Assns. (ATA) has reported that its advanced seasonally adjusted (SA) For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index “jumped 3.5% in November, following an increase of 0.5% during the previous month” thanks to rising economic activity. In November, the index equaled 136.8 (where 2000=100), which the trucking lobby said amounted to the highest level on record.

Compared with November 2013, the SA index increased 4.4%. That was down slightly from October's 4.5% increase, but ATA said it still came in as the second highest year-over-year gain in 2014. Year-to-date, compared with the same period last year, tonnage is up 3.3%.

As for the not seasonally adjusted index, which represents the change in tonnage actually hauled by fleets before any seasonal adjustment, it equaled 125.8 in November, 10.5% below the previous month (140.5). 

“With strong readings for both retail sales and factory output in November, I’m not surprised that tonnage increased as well,” commented ATA chief economist Bob Costello. “However, the strength in tonnage did surprise to the upside.

 “The index has increased in four of the last five months for a total gain of 6.4%,” he continued. “Clearly, the economy is doing well with tonnage on such a robust trend line.”

ATA said it calculates the tonnage index based on surveys from its membership and that this is a preliminary figure and subject to change in the final report issued around the 10th day of the month. That report includes month-to-month and year-over-year results, relevant economic comparisons, and key financial indicators.

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