Truck tonnage slip points to yielding economy?

ARLINGTON, Va. – The American Trucking Associations‘ advance seasonally adjusted For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index fell slightly, by 1.4 percent in June from May.

May and June marked the first back-to-back contractions since March and April 2009 — a sign that the U.S. freight market is slowing down once again after a promising Spring boost.

However, there’s little reason to be pessimistic. The index, reports ATA, is still up 7.6 percent from June 2009, the seventh straight year-over-year boost. Year-to-date, tonnage is up 6.6 percent from the same period in 2009.

The non-seasonally adjusted index, which represents the change in tonnage actually hauled by the fleets before any seasonal adjustment, was actually up 6.5 percent from the previous month.

Chief ATA economist Bob Costello predicts truck tonnage will plateau in the next few months as the economy decelerates and year-over-year comparisons become more difficult.

However, because capacity has contracted significantly, even slow growth will be appreciated by most fleets. "Due to supply tightness in the market, any tonnage growth feels significantly better for fleets than one might expect."  

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