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US for-hire truck tonnage falls 0.7% in May

ARLINGTON, Va. -- US for-hire truck tonnage decreased 0.7% in May after falling 1.1% in April, according to the American Trucking Associations.


ARLINGTON, Va. — US for-hire truck tonnage decreased 0.7% in May after falling 1.1% in April, according to the American Trucking Associations.

Compared with May 2011, the seasonally-adjusted index was 4.1% higher, the largest year-over-year increase since February. Year-to-date, compared with the same period last year, tonnage was up 3.8%.

The not-seasonally-adjusted index in May was up 6.5% above the previous month.

“Two straight months of contractions is disappointing,” said ATA chief economist Bob Costello. “The drops in tonnage are reflective of the broader economy, which has slowed. The good news is that the decrease in fuel prices will help support retail sales going forward, which is a big part of truck tonnage.”

However, Costello said he’s concerned about businesses sitting on cash instead of hiring more workers or spending it on capital – both of which would give the economy and tonnage a shot in the arm – as they are worried about Europe and the so-called U.S. fiscal cliff at the end of the year. He also reiterated last month’s comment: “Annualized tonnage growth should be in the 3% to 3.9% range this year.”


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