American Trucking Associations’ advanced seasonally adjusted (SA) For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index increased 0.2% in August after rising 1.1% in July.
In August, the index equaled 115.3 (2015=100) compared with 115 in July, ATA reported.
“The evidence is growing that tonnage hit bottom in April and continues its slow climb upward,” Bob Costello, ATA chief economist, said in a news release. “However, year-over-year comparisons remain difficult as tonnage peaked in September of last year. As a result, it is unlikely that tonnage turns positive compared with a year earlier for at least a month or two longer. Most recently, freight continues to be mixed, with consumer spending and factory output flat to down.”
Compared with August 2022, the SA index fell 2.3%, which was the sixth straight year-over-year decrease. In July, the index was down 1.2% from a year earlier.
The not seasonally adjusted index, which represents the change in tonnage actually hauled by fleets before any seasonal adjustment, equaled 120.7 in August, 6.3% above the July level (113.6). In calculating the index, 100 represents 2015. ATA’s For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index is dominated by contract freight as opposed to spot market freight.
Trucking serves as a barometer of the U.S. economy, representing 72.6% of tonnage carried by all modes of domestic freight transportation, including manufactured and retail goods. Trucks hauled 11.46 billion tons of freight in 2022. Motor carriers collected $940.8 billion, or 80.7% of total revenue earned by all transport modes.
ATA calculates the tonnage index based on surveys from its membership and has been doing so since the 1970s.