Friday, September 25, 2009

Truck Tonnage Index Increased in August

by Bill McBride on 9/25/2009 02:23:00 PM

From the American Trucking Association: ATA Truck Tonnage Index Rose 2.1 Percent in August

Truck Tonnage Click on graph for slightly larger image in new window.

The American Trucking Associations’ advance seasonally adjusted (SA) For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index increased 2.1 percent in August, matching July’s increase of the same magnitude. The latest gain raised the SA index to 104.1 (2000=100), which was the best reading since February 2009. ... Compared with August 2008, SA tonnage fell 7.5 percent, which was the best year-over-year showing since November 2008. ...

“The gains in tonnage during July and August reflect a growing economy and less of an overhang in inventories,” [ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello] noted. “While I am optimistic that the worst is behind us, most economic indicators, including industrial output and household spending, suggest freight tonnage will exhibit moderate, and probably inconsistent, growth in the months ahead."
The Rail Freight Traffic shows some recent pickup too, but the level is still way below 2008 and 2007. (ht Bob_in_MA) Note: Trucking accounts for about 70% of tonnage carried by all modes of domestic freight transportation, and about 83% of total revenue.

It appears the economy has reset to a new lower level, and growth will probably be sluggish. Trucking is probably benefiting from inventory restocking, and exports - the key positive areas for the economy.