The American Trucking Associations' advanced seasonally adjusted For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index increased 1.6 percent in February after falling a revised 3.1 percent in January.
On a seasonally adjusted basis, the tonnage index improved to 113.3 (2000 = 100) in February from 111.5 the previous month. The index decreased 1.7 percent compared with a year earlier, marking the eighth consecutive year-over-year decline. The not seasonally adjusted index fell 6.8 percent from January to 101.2.
ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello said February's tonnage increase came as a surprise given other economic trends during the month and considering the rough winter weather. He attributed some of the index's strength, however, to easy comparisons with January because the first month of the year was particularly weak.
Trucking serves as a barometer of the United States 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, or 84.3 percent of total revenue earned by all transport modes.