Monthly tonnage index rises in October

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The American Trucking Associations on Tuesday, Nov. 22, announced that its advance seasonally adjusted For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index increased 0.5 percent in October after 1.5 percent in September. The latest gain put the adjusted index at 116.3 in October, up from the September level of 115.8.

The nonseasonally adjusted index, which represents the change in tonnage actually hauled by the fleets before any seasonal adjustment, equaled 118.5 in October, which was 0.8 percent below the previous month.

Compared with October 2010, adjusted tonnage was up 5.7 percent. In September, the tonnage index was 5.8 percent above a year earlier. Further, October’s tonnage reading was just 4.4 percent below the index’s all-time high in January 2005.

“Tonnage readings continue to show that economy is growing and not sliding back into recession,” ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello said. “Over the last two months, tonnage is up nearly 2 percent and is just shy of the recent high in January of this year.”

Costello said he expects freight and the economy to increase at a slower pace next year, but that truck tonnage can outpace GDP growth. “Manufacturing output has been the primary reason why truck freight volumes are increasing more than GDP,” he said. “The industrial sector should slow next year, but still grow more than GDP, which means truck tonnage can increase faster than GDP too.”

ATA calculates the tonnage index based on surveys from its membership. The report includes month-to-month and year-over-year results, relevant economic comparisons and key financial indicators. The baseline year is 2000.

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