ARLINGTON, Va. — US for-hire truck tonnage spiked 2.8% in December, on the heels of a revised 3.9% gain in November.
The American Trucking Associations For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index closed out the year recording the best consecutive gains of 2012.
However, despite the strong monthly increases, the index was still 2.3% off December 2011 levels, marking the worst year-over-year result since November 2009. For the full year 2012, tonnage was up 2.3% compared to 2011.
“December was better than anticipated in light of the very difficult year-over-year comparison,” ATA chief economist Bob Costello said. In December 2011, the index surged 6.4% from the previous month. Costello anticipates more sluggishness in the index this year, especially early in the year, as the economy continues to face several headwinds.
“As paycheques shrink for all households due to higher taxes, I’m expecting a weak first quarter for tonnage and the broader economy,” Costello said. “Since trucks account for the vast majority of deliveries in the retail supply chain, any reduction in consumer spending will have ramifications on truck tonnage levels.”