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INDUSTRY PULSE: ATA truck tonnage index shows decrease for March

ALEXANDRIA, Va.-The American Trucking Associations' seasonally adjusted for-hire Truck Tonnage Index decreased 3.3 ...

ALEXANDRIA, Va.-The American Trucking Associations’ seasonally adjusted for-hire Truck Tonnage Index decreased 3.3 percent in March, corresponding with the modest economic slowdown that has appeared in other economic data in recent months.

On a seasonally adjusted basis, the tonnage index fell to 111.3 (2000=100), following a revised 2.9% drop in February. The index was 0.4 percent lower than a year earlier, its first year-over-year decrease since November 2001. On a not-seasonally adjusted basis, the tonnage index increased 12.1 percent from February, says ATA.

According to ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello, tonnage volumes slipped slightly as consumer spending decelerated and as higher energy costs weighed modestly on economic growth. He projected that the economy and tonnage would grow between 3 percent and 3.5 percent this year.

“This is no time for panic,” Costello said. “We anticipated there would be a slowdown because the economy isn’t growing as robustly. It would be difficult for freight volumes to grow significantly faster than the economy. Our projected growth for this year will translate into solid expansion for the industry.”

Year-to-date, tonnage increased 3.9 percent, compared with a year earlier. The truck tonnage index increased 5.7 percent in 2004.

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