The American Trucking Associations’ advanced seasonally adjusted (SA) For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index fell for the first time since September 2017, losing 5.7% in December. For all of 2017, compared with 2016, the index was up 3.7%. This was the largest annual gain since 2013 (6.1%).
In December, the index equaled 142.9 (2000=100), down from 151.6 in November. Compared with December 2016, the SA index increased 5.9%, which was down from November’s 7.5% year-over-year gain, but still very strong. In October, the index surged 10.5% on a year-over-year basis.
“Despite the decline in December, last year was a solid year for truck tonnage, especially during the second half of 2017,” said ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello. “I remain optimistic for 2018 for a host of reasons, including a pick-up in factory activity, better housing construction, solid retail sales, and an expected shot in the arm from the new tax law.”
ATA also revised its November monthly increase in the index down to a 2.1% gain from the previously reported 2.3% increase.
The not seasonally adjusted index, which represents the change in tonnage actually hauled by the fleets before any seasonal adjustment, equaled 141.9 in December, which was 3.4% below the previous month (146.9).