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Tuesday, June 19, 2012

ATA Trucking index declined 0.7% in May

by Calculated Risk on 6/19/2012 05:15:00 PM

From ATA: ATA Truck Tonnage Fell 0.7% in May

The American Trucking Associations’ advanced seasonally adjusted (SA) For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index decreased 0.7% in May after falling 1.1% in April. (April’s loss was the same as ATA reported on May 22.) The latest drop lowered the SA index to 117.8 (2000=100), down from April’s level of 118.7. Compared with May 2011, the SA index was 4.1% higher, the largest year-over-year increase since February 2012. Year-to-date, compared with the same period last year, tonnage was up 3.8%.
“Two straight months of contractions is disappointing,” ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello said. “The drops in tonnage are reflective of the broader economy, which has slowed.”

“The good news is that the decrease in fuel prices will help support retail sales going forward, which is a big part of truck tonnage,” he said. As a negative, Costello said he’s concerned about businesses sitting on cash instead of hiring more workers or spending it on capital, both of which would give the economy and tonnage a shot in the arm, as they are worried about Europe and the so-called U.S. fiscal cliff at the end of the year. He also reiterated last month’s comment: “Annualized tonnage growth should be in the 3% to 3.9% range this year.”
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 above the pre-recession level and still up 3.8% year-over-year - but has been moving mostly sideways in 2012.

From ATA:
Trucking serves as a barometer of the U.S. economy, representing 67.2% of tonnage carried by all modes of domestic freight transportation, including manufactured and retail goods. Trucks hauled 9 billion tons of freight in 2010. Motor carriers collected $563.4 billion, or 81.2% of total revenue earned by all transport modes.
Earlier on Housing:
• On Yahoo: McBride: Total Housing Starts Decline in May, but the Trend Is Positive
Comments on Housing
Housing Starts at 708 thousand in May, Single Family starts increase to 516 thousand