Tuesday, January 20, 2015

ATA Trucking Index unchanged in December, Up Solidly Year-over-year

by Bill McBride on 1/20/2015 12:15:00 PM

Here is an indicator that I follow on trucking, from the ATA: ATA Truck Tonnage Index Unchanged in December, Up 3.5% for 2014

American Trucking Associations’ advanced seasonally adjusted For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index was unchanged in December, following a jump of 3.5% during the previous month. In December, the index equaled 136.8 (2000=100), which tied November as the all-time high.

Compared with December 2013, the SA index increased 5.2%, which was the largest year-over-year gain in 2014. For the entire year, tonnage was up 3.5%. ...

“Economic data was mixed in December, with retail sales down 0.9% and factory output up 0.3%, so tonnage was in-between those two readings, which are two large drivers of truck freight,” said ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello. “Overall, 2014 was a good year for truck tonnage with significant gains throughout the year after falling 4.5% in January alone.”

Costello said that in December, tonnage was 10.2% above January.

“Freight volumes look good going into 2015,” Costello said. “Expect an acceleration in consumer spending and factory output to offset the weakness in hydraulic fracking this year.”

Trucking serves as a barometer of the U.S. economy, representing 69.1% of tonnage carried by all modes of domestic freight transportation, including manufactured and retail goods. Trucks hauled 9.7 billion tons of freight in 2013. Motor carriers collected $681.7 billion, or 81.2% of total revenue earned by all transport modes.
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 now up 5.2% year-over-year and finished the year strong.