Sunday, April 26, 2015

ATA Trucking Index increased in March

by Bill McBride on 4/26/2015 09:20:00 AM

Here is an indicator that I follow on trucking, from the ATA: ATA Truck Tonnage Index Gained 1.1% in March

American Trucking Associations’ advanced seasonally adjusted For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index increased 1.1% in March, following a revised drop of 2.8% during the previous month. In March, the index equaled 133.5 (2000=100). The all-time high is 135.8, reached in January 2015.

Compared with March 2014, the SA index increased 5%, which was above the 3.3% gain in February but below January’s 6.7% year-over-year increase. During the first quarter, tonnage was unchanged from the previous quarter while increasing 5% from the same period in 2014. ...

“While tonnage did not fully recoup the loss from February, it increased nicely in March,” said ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello. “I’d say that tonnage was one of the better indicators for the month, which is a positive sign for the broader economy.”

Costello added that truck tonnage has increased in five of the last six months, but is off 1.7% from the high in January.

“The next couple of months will be telling for truck freight volumes as we enter the spring freight season,” he said.

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 5.0% year-over-year.