ATA Truck Tonnage Index
slips 4.0% in January 2012
Feb 29, 2012 10:11 AM
The American Trucking Associationsí advanced seasonally adjusted (SA) For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index fell 4.0% in January 2012 after surging 6.4% in December 2011. The latest contraction put the SA index at 119.4 (2000=100), down from Decemberís record level of 124.4.
ATA recently revised the seasonally adjusted index back five years as part of its annual revision. For all of 2011, tonnage rose 5.8%, slightly lower than the 5.9% previously reported, and matched 2010ís gain of the same magnitude. The index increased 3.6% from January 2011.
The not seasonally adjusted index, which represents the change in tonnage actually hauled by the fleets before any seasonal adjustment, equaled 112.1 in January, which was 3.5% below the previous month.
ďLast month, I said I was surprised by the size of the gain in December. Today, Iím not surprised that tonnage fell on a seasonally adjusted basis in January simply due to the fact that December was so strong,Ē said Bob Costello, ATA chief economist. Costello said Decemberís increase was the largest month-to-month gain since January 2005.
ďIím still optimistic about truck tonnage going forward. In fact, while many fleets said January was normal, they are also saying that February has been pretty good so far,Ē he said.
Trucking serves as a barometer of the US economy, representing 67.2% of tonnage carried by all modes of domestic freight transportation, including manufactured and retail goods. Trucks hauled 9 billion tons of freight in 2010. Motor carriers collected $563.4 billion, or 81.2% of total revenue earned by all transport modes.
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