US for-hire truck tonnage drops slightly in April

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WASHINGTON, D.C. — US for-hire truck tonnage fell 1.1% in April, on the heels of a revised 0.6% gain in March.

The seasonally- adjusted index was up 3.5% compared to April 2011, which is stronger than March’s 3.1% year-over-year improvement.

Tonnage is up 3.8% year to date over the same period last year, according to the index compiled by the American Trucking Associations.

“While April’s decrease was a little disappointing, the March gain turned out to be stronger than originally thought,” ATA chief economist Bob Costello said. “The ups and downs so far this year are similar to other economic indicators.”
“While just one month, the April’s decrease also matches with an economy that is likely to grow slightly slower in the second quarter than in the first quarter,” Costello added. He reiterated last month’s message, noting that the industry should not expect the rate of growth seen over the last couple of years, when tonnage grew 5.8% in both 2010 and 2011. “I continue to expect tonnage to moderate from the pace over the last two years. Annualized growth in the 3% to 3.9% seems more likely.”

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