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Truck Tonnage Index continues its “impressive” upward pace

Dec. 20, 2018
Learn why the ATA For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index increased 0.4% in November 2018.

American Trucking Associations’ advanced seasonally adjusted (SA) For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index increased 0.4% in November 2018 to 118.9 from October’s level of 118.4.

“The fact that tonnage rose in November after a strong October is impressive,” said Bob Costello, ATA chief economist. “It was likely due to some continued pull forward of shipments from China due to the threat of higher tariffs, as well as solid retail sales last month. With continued strength in November, tonnage growth is on pace to be the best year since 1998.”

October’s change over the previous month was revised down to +5% (+6.3% was originally reported November 20).

Compared with November 2017, the SA index climbed 7.6%, down slightly from October’s 8.1% year-over-year gain. Year-to-date, compared with the same period a year ago, tonnage rose 7.2%.

The not seasonally adjusted index, which represents the change in tonnage actually hauled by the fleets before any seasonal adjustment, equaled 119 in November, which was 3.1% below the previous month (122.8). In calculating the index, 100 represents 2015.

Trucking serves as a barometer of the US economy, representing 70.2% of tonnage carried by all modes of domestic freight transportation, including manufactured and retail goods. Trucks hauled 10.77 billion tons of freight in 2017. Motor carriers collected $700.1 billion, or 79.3% of total revenue earned by all transport modes.

The ATA is the largest national trade association for the trucking industry. Through a federation of 50 affiliated state trucking associations and industry-related conferences and councils, ATA is the voice of the industry America depends on most to move its freight.

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