Friday, May 22, 2015

ATA Trucking Index decreased 3% in April

by Bill McBride on 5/22/2015 04:01:00 PM

Here is an indicator that I follow on trucking, from the ATA: ATA Truck Tonnage Index Fell 3% in April

American Trucking Associations’ advanced seasonally adjusted For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index fell 3% in April, following a revised gain of 0.4% during the previous month. In April, the index equaled 128.6 (2000=100), which was the lowest level since April 2014. The all-time high is 135.8, reached in January 2015.

Compared with April 2014, the SA index increased just 1%, which was well below the 4.2% gain in March and the smallest year-over-year gain since February 2013. ...

“Like most economic indicators, truck tonnage was soft in April,” said ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello. “Unless tonnage snaps back in May and June, GDP growth will likely be suppressed in the second quarter.”

Costello added that truck tonnage is off 5.3% from the high in January.

“The next couple of months will be telling for both truck freight and the broader economy. Any significant jump from the first quarter is looking more doubtful,” he said.

Trucking serves as a barometer of the U.S. economy, representing 68.8% of tonnage carried by all modes of domestic freight transportation, including manufactured and retail goods. Trucks hauled just under 10 billion tons of freight in 2014. Motor carriers collected $700.4 billion, or 80.3% 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 only 1.0% year-over-year.