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Monday, March 29, 2010

ATA Truck Tonnage Index declines in February

by Calculated Risk on 3/29/2010 10:56:00 AM

From the American Trucking Association: ATA Truck Tonnage Index Fell 0.5 Percent in February

Truck Tonnage Click on graph for slightly larger image in new window.

The American Trucking Associations’ advance seasonally adjusted (SA) For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index decreased 0.5 percent in February, following a revised 1.9 percent increase in January [revised down from 3.1%]. The latest drop put the SA index at 108.5 (2000=100), down from 109.1 in January.
Compared with February 2009, SA tonnage increased 2.6 percent, which was the third consecutive year-over-year gain. For the first two months of 2010, SA tonnage was up 3.5 percent compared with the same period last year. For all of 2009, the tonnage index contracted 8.7 percent, which was the largest annual decrease since 1982.

ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello said that the February tonnage reading is difficult to interpret because of the severe winter storms that impacted truck freight movements during the month, particularly on the East Coast.
Trucking serves as a barometer of the U.S. economy, representing nearly 69 percent of tonnage carried by all modes of domestic freight transportation, including manufactured and retail goods. Trucks hauled 10.2 billion tons of freight in 2008. Motor carriers collected $660.3 billion, or 83.1 percent of total revenue earned by all transport modes.
Trucking is a coincident indicator for the economy, but the snow makes it difficult to tell about February.