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ATA Truck Tonnage
ATA Truck Tonnage
ATA Truck Tonnage
ATA Truck Tonnage
ATA Truck Tonnage

ATA’s seasonally adjusted Truck Tonnage Index rises in December

Jan. 24, 2020
Annual gain is 10th consecutive, but improvement masks choppy freight environment felt throughout 2019, association says

The American Trucking Associations’ advanced seasonally adjusted (SA) For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index increased 3.3% in 2019, which is half the gain of 6.7% in 2018 but still marks 10 consecutive annual increases.

The For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index rose 4% in December after falling 3.4% in November, ATA said. In December, the index equaled 118.2 (2015=100) compared with 113.6 in November.

“Last year was not a terrible year for for-hire truck tonnage, and despite the increase at the end of the year, 2019 was very uneven for the industry,” said Bob Costello, ATA’s chief economist. “The overall annual gain masks the very choppy freight environment throughout the year, which made the market feel worse for many fleets

“In December, strong housing starts helped advance the index forward.”

ATA said it is important to note that its tonnage data is dominated by contract freight.

Also, November’s reading was revised down slightly compared with the association’s December press release.

Compared with December 2018, the SA index rose 3%, which was preceded by a 2% year-over-year drop in November.

The not-seasonally adjusted index, which represents the change in tonnage hauled by the fleets before any seasonal adjustment, equaled 112.7 in December, 2% below the November level (115.1). In calculating the index, 100 represents 2015.

Trucking serves as a barometer of the US economy, representing 70.2% of tonnage carried by all modes of domestic freight transportation, including manufactured and retail goods. Trucks hauled 10.77 billion tons of freight in 2017. Motor carriers collected $700.1 billion, or 79.3% of total revenue earned by all transport modes.

ATA calculates the tonnage index based on surveys from its membership. This is a preliminary figure and subject to change in the final report issued around the fifth day of each month. The report includes month-to-month and year-over-year results, relevant economic comparisons, and key financial indicators.