ATA: Truck tonnage plummets in the US

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ALEXANDRIA, Va. – The American Trucking Associations’ has announced for-hire truck tonnage in the US plunged 3.6% in November.

The fall follows a 1.9% decrease in October, and represents a 8.8% drop from the same month a year ago. That marks the largest year-over-year decrease since December, 2000, the trucking association says. Truck tonnage now stands at the lowest level since late 2003.

“November 2006 marked the single worst month for for-hire truck tonnage since the last recession,” said ATA chief economist Bob Costello. “Both the month-to-month and year-over-year decreases indicate that the economic slowdown is in full gear. The most troubling number is the 8.8% contraction from November 2005, despite the fact that year-over-year comparisons are difficult due to the very robust volumes during the same month last year. One month certainly doesn’t make a trend, but if we continue to see year-over-year reductions of similar magnitudes in the next couple of months, it could indicate a greater economic slowdown than economists are projecting at this point.”

Many economists look at the trucking industry as an economic indicator, as nearly 70% of all US freight is moved by truck. The ATA calculates truck tonnage through surveys of member carriers.

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