ARLINGTON, Va. — US for-hire truck tonnage rebounded in November, with a 3.7% gain that erased a loss of the same amount in October.
November’s gain was the first since July of this year, according to the American Trucking Associations. The ATA’s for-hire truck tonnage index was up 1% compared to November 2011. Year-to-date, tonnage is up 2.8% over the same period last year.
“Sandy impacted both October’s and November’s tonnage readings,” ATA chief economist Bob Costello said. “But it was still good to see tonnage snap back in November.” Costello said he expects a boost to flatbed tonnage from the rebuilding in the areas impacted by Sandy, but most of that won’t happen until the spring when the money starts flowing and the weather is conducive to building.
“Outside of Sandy, if the fiscal cliff isn’t fixed in time, expect a slowdown in tonnage early next year as paycheques shrink for all households,” Costello said. “Since trucks account for the vast majority of deliveries in the retail supply, any reduction in consumer spending will hurt.” Costello added that even if the effects of the fiscal cliff are mitigated, he expects slower tonnage growth in 2013 than 2012 as better housing starts and auto sales will be offset by slower factory output and consumer spending.
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