The American Trucking Associations (ATA) advanced seasonally adjusted For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index decreased 0.9 percent in September, marking the third consecutive month-to-month drop, according to ATA information.
The index fell 1.6 percent in August and 0.9 percent in July. In September, the seasonally adjusted tonnage index equaled 112.6 (2000 = 100), its lowest level since October 2007. The not-seasonally adjusted index increased 1.1 percent to 116.3 in September.
For the third quarter, the seasonally adjusted index contracted 1.2 percent compared with the second quarter, equating to a 4.8 percent annualized rate decrease.
The seasonally adjusted index was just 0.8 percent higher compared with September 2007. While the index rose year-over-year because of weak 2007 volumes, it is quickly falling toward negative territory.
ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello said the recent decreases in truck tonnage are consistent with a recession. Costello forecasts a recession beginning in the 2008 third quarter and through the first quarter of 2009.
“I anticipate truck freight volumes to continue to fall before they improve,” said Costello. “It is a tough freight market, and there is nothing on the horizon that says this will change anytime soon.”