ATA freight tonnage numbers fall again

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — The American Trucking Associations‘ advanced seasonally adjusted For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index decreased 0.9 percent in September, marking the third consecutive month-to-month drop.

The index fell 1.6 percent in August and 0.9 percent in July. In September, the seasonally adjusted tonnage index equaled 112.6 (2000 = 100), its lowest level since October 2007.

The seasonally adjusted index was just 0.8 percent higher compared with September 2007. While the index rose year-over-year because of weak 2007 volumes, it is quickly falling toward negative territory.

ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello said the recent decreases in truck tonnage are consistent with a recession. He forecasts a recession beginning in the 2008 third quarter and through the first quarter of 2009.

"I anticipate truck freight volumes to continue to fall before they improve," said Costello. "It is a tough freight market, and there is nothing on the horizon that says this will change anytime soon."


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