ARLINGTON, Va. — Truck tonnage in the US plunged 11.1% in December, which is the largest month-to-month decline since April, 1994 when unionized LTL truckers were on strike.
December also represented the third largest single month drop since the American Trucking Associations (ATA) began collecting truck tonnage data in 1973.
The seasonally-adjusted tonnage index reached its lowest point since December, 2000. Truck tonnage in the US was 14.1% lower than in December, 2007, the ATA reported. For the fourth quarter of 08, tonnage was down 6% compared to the previous year.
The ATA’s chief economist, Bob Costello, said the latest figures prove beyond doubt that the US is in the midst of a serious recession.
“Motor carrier freight is a reflection of the tangible goods economy, and December’s numbers leave no doubt that the United States is in the worst recession in decades,” Costello said. “It is likely truck tonnage will not improve much before the third quarter of this year. The economy is expected to contract through the first half of 2009 and then only grow slightly through the end of the year.”
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