ATA Truck Tonnage Index fell 1.8 percent in October

The American Trucking Associations’ advanced seasonally adjusted for-hire Truck Tonnage Index dropped 1.8 percent in October after increasing 1.6 percent in September.

On a seasonally adjusted basis, the tonnage index fell to 110.8 (2000=100) from 112.9 in September. The latest reduction put the index at its lowest level since the end of the 2006 first quarter. The index decreased 4.0 percent compared with a year earlier, marking the largest year-over-year decrease since February 2001. Year-to-date, the truck tonnage index was down 2.1 percent, compared with the same period in 2005. The not-seasonally-adjusted index increased 4.7 percent from September to 117.7.

“While September was better than expected, October was certainly weaker than anticipated, especially on a year-over-year basis,” said ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello. “However, the latest number fits with anecdotal reports that the traditional fall freight season was essentially non-existent this year. After plummeting in February and March, freight volumes through October, on average, have been flat as every gain since May was followed by an equal or greater loss the next month.”

Trucking serves as a barometer of the US economy because it represents nearly 70 percent of tonnage carried by all modes of domestic freight transportation, including manufactured and retail goods. Trucks hauled 10.7 billion tons of freight in 2005. Motor carriers collected $623 billion dollars, or 84.3 percent of total revenue earned by all transport modes

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