Wednesday, January 22, 2014

ATA Trucking Index increased in December

by Bill McBride on 1/22/2014 03:50:00 PM

Here is a minor indicator that I follow, from ATA: December Tonnage Gain Caps ATA Tonnage Index's Best Year Since 1998

The American Trucking Associations’ advanced seasonally adjusted For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index increased 0.6% in December, after surging 4.7% in November. The increase pushed the index 6.2% higher for the full year making it the index's best year since 1998.

November’s increase was significantly larger than the preliminary gain of 2.7% ATA reported on December 20, 2013. In December, the index equaled 131.7 (2000=100) versus 130.9 in November. December’s level is a record high. Compared with December 2012, the SA index increased 8.2%.
...
“Tonnage ended 2013 on a high note, which fits with many economic indicators as trucking is an excellent reflection of the tangible goods economy,” said ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello. “The final quarter was the strongest we’ve seen in a couple of years, rising 2.2% from the third quarter and 9.1% from a year earlier.”

Costello reiterated his statement from last month: the tonnage acceleration in the second half of the year is pointing to an economy that is likely stronger than some might believe.

“I’m seeing more broad-based gains now. The improvement is not limited to the tank truck and flatbed sectors like earlier in the year," he said. "With manufacturing and consumer spending picking up, coupled with solid volumes from hydraulic fracturing, I look for tonnage to be good in 2014 as well.”
emphasis added
ATA Trucking Click on graph for larger image.

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

The dashed line is the current level of the index.

The index is up solidly year-over-year. The index is at a record high, and this was best year for growth since 1998.

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