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US truck tonnage up slightly in February

ARLINGTON, Va. -- The American Trucking Associations' US truck tonnage index rose slightly for the second stra...

ARLINGTON, Va. — The American Trucking Associations’ US truck tonnage index rose slightly for the second straight month in February, but the association was quick to point out tonnage is still down 9.2% year-over-year.


That marks the third worst year-over-year decrease in the current cycle, noted the ATA. However, the 1.7% increase over January marked two straight months of gains. US truck tonnage contracted 7.8% in December, 2008 but it has clawed back 4.8% of that over the last two months, according to the ATA’s index.


ATA chief economist Bob Costello warned against getting overly excited about back to back tonnage increases.


“As I said last month, tonnage will not fall every month on a seasonally adjusted basis, and just because it rose again in February doesn’t mean the economy is on the mend,” Costello said. “Tonnage plunged again on a year-over-year basis, which highlights the current weakness in the freight environment.” 


He warned there’s little reason to expect a sustained recovery in freight volumes in the near future.


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