US truck tonnage reports second consecutive gain (February 26, 2008)

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ARLINGTON, Va. — In stark defiance of the popular opinion that the US is on the brink of a recession, truck tonnage in the US made a modest increase for the second straight month in January.

The American Trucking Associations announced today that truck tonnage increased 2.4% in January, following an amended 1.5% increase in December. The ATA originally reported a 4.1% gain for December, but that has since been adjusted.

January’s seasonally-adjusted tonnage index represented a 26-month high. Tonnage for January was also up 5.3% compared to a year ago. While ATA chief economist Bob Costello said the latest figures were a good sign, he fell short of saying the industry was on its way to a recovery.

“The economy is either in a mild recession or on the brink of one, and we are hearing anecdotal reports that freight volumes slowed in February,” he said. “I anticipate that truck tonnage will recover before the general economy, but I am withholding judgment on whether truck tonnage is in a recovery mode until I analyze another month or two of data.”

Costello noted that truck tonnage has in some cases in the past, rebounded before the start of a real recession.

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