Tuesday, July 26, 2011

ATA Trucking index increased 2.8% in June

by Bill McBride on 7/26/2011 07:20:00 PM

From ATA Trucking: ATA Truck Tonnage Index Jumped 2.8% in June

The American Trucking Associations’ advance seasonally adjusted (SA) For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index increased 2.8% in June after decreasing a revised 2.0% in May 2011. May’s drop was slightly less than the 2.3% ATA reported on June 27, 2011. The latest gain put the SA index at 115.8 (2000=100) in June, up from the May level of 112.6 and the highest since January 2011.
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Compared with June 2010, SA tonnage jumped 6.8%, the largest year-over-year gain since January 2011. In May, the tonnage index was 3% above a year earlier.

“Motor carriers told us that freight was strong in June and that played out in the data as well,” ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello said. Tonnage recovered all of the losses in April and May when the index contracted a total of 2.6%.
Pulse of Commerce Index Click on graph for larger image in graph gallery.

Here is a long term graph that shows ATA's Fore-Hire Truck Tonnage index.

The dashed line is the current level of the index. From ATA:
Trucking serves as a barometer of the U.S. 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.
Unfortunately July will probably be weak based on some comments from UPS, from the WSJ:
United Parcel Service Inc., explaining its expectation of flat U.S. package volume in the third quarter, is citing the stalemate over the debt ceiling as a factor.

In a post-earnings conference call with analysts Tuesday, UPS Chief Executive Scott Davis said the economy had become extremely uncertain and that "economic growth expectations have slowed."

He blamed the ongoing political debate over whether to raise the U.S. debt ceiling, among other factors, for contributing to the uncertainty.

"Consumer confidence is down because of it," he said.

He described his outlook on the upcoming peak fall shipping season as "cautious" so far, saying early indications don't show much of a buildup.

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