ATA
Ata Tonnage April 6470c3c8be387

ATA: Truck tonnage hits lowest level since 2021

May 26, 2023
“The goods-portion of the economy is soft and as a result, even contract truck freight is now falling, albeit not nearly as much as the spot market,” ATA’s chief economist says.

American Trucking Associations’ advanced seasonally adjusted (SA) For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index declined 1.7% in April after decreasing 2.8% in March.

In April, the index equaled 112.7 (2015=100) compared with 114.7 in March, ATA said.

“While the broader economy continues to surprise and thus far stave off an expected recession, the freight economy is starkly different,” Bob Costello, ATA chief economist, said in a news release. “The goods-portion of the economy is soft and as a result, even contract truck freight is now falling, albeit not nearly as much as the spot market.

“The tonnage index hit the lowest level since September 2021 in April and has now fallen on a year-over-year basis for two straight months.”

Compared with April 2022, the SA index decreased 3.4%, which was the largest year-over-year decrease since February 2021. In March, the index was down 2.4% from a year earlier.

The not seasonally adjusted index, which represents the change in tonnage actually hauled by the fleets before any seasonal adjustment, equaled 109 in April, 9.5% below the March level (120.4). In calculating the index, 100 represents 2015. ATA’s For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index is dominated by contract freight as opposed to spot market freight.

Trucking serves as a barometer of the U.S. economy, representing 72.2% of tonnage carried by all modes of domestic freight transportation, including manufactured and retail goods. Trucks hauled 10.93 billion tons of freight in 2021. Motor carriers collected $875.5 billion, or 80.8% of total revenue earned by all transport modes.

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